The consequences of the collision of the DART device with an asteroid: what could not have happened was discovered
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Smashing a spacecraft into an asteroid can have unexpected consequences.
The Hubble Space Telescope, which continues to observe a binary system of asteroids, one of which crashed into a DART almost 2 months ago, noticed something unusual. It turned out that after the collision, the Dimorph asteroid formed not one, but two tails, like a comet, writes Forbes.
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Data from the Hubble telescope has provided scientists with new information about the consequences of the collision of the DART apparatus with the asteroid Dimorph. In the new images, astronomers have been able to see that the tail of debris that was thrown into space as a result of a space “car crash” is not one. Scientists have found that the space rock now has two tails, similar to those that exist on comets.
While the second tail isn't quite visible in the new Hubble image, scientists say it exists. Although, why the second tail of debris appeared is still not known. It is known for sure that this second tail did not form immediately after the impact, but about a week and a half after the event.
In any case, the double tail of debris is a real mystery for astronomers, which they will try to solve in the near future by making new observations of the Dimorph asteroid. Scientists have several options for how the second tail could form, but for now they decided to keep this information a secret.
We remind you that last year the DART spacecraft went to two near-Earth asteroids, Didymus and Dimorph. The second space rock revolves around the first, much smaller than it, but it was he who became the target for the collision.
Why was this necessary? So NASA scientists wanted to know if their theory was correct regarding the fact that a man-made apparatus at the most dangerous moment for the Earth will be able to save the planet from the fall of an asteroid.
How can this be done? To do this, you just need to change the asteroid's flight path, in this case, change the orbit of Dimorph around Didyma.
What came of it? Everything turned out as the scientists expected. Asteroid Dimorph's orbit has changed, and even more so than they predicted. Now this space rock, instead of 11 hours 55 minutes, spends 11 hours and 23 minutes flying around Didyma. That is, it flies faster and on a different course.
< p>Focus already wrote about the collision itself, which occurred on September 27, that as a result of this event, fragments escaped into space, which stretched for several thousand kilometers, and also that NASA officially stated that the mission was a success. And of course, in this statement it was said about the appearance of one tail. There are now two of them.
By the way, there is something to save the Earth from. As recent data from scientists have shown, more than 1,400 near-Earth asteroids pose a real threat to the Earth. That is, they could potentially collide with the planet. And in this case, earthlings will just need a device similar to DART.