In September 2022, NASA intentionally crashed its DART spacecraft right into a small asteroid some 6.8 million miles from Earth, in an try to redirect its trajectory as a test-run for any future rock that may threaten Earth.
Now, the Hubble House Telescope has compiled imagery taken of the goal rock, Dimorphos, earlier than and after the September crash take a look at. The photographs have been stitched collectively to create a timelapse film of the Double Asteroid Redirection Take a look at (DART) mission.
Ground telescopes picked up grainy footage of the violent event, however Hubble additionally captured the hour-or-so earlier than the occasion and the days after.
The timelapse begins at 1.3 hours earlier than the DART spacecraft’s impression into Dimorphos, in accordance with a European House Company release. The primary picture taken after the impression is round 20 minutes after the occasion; when you look fastidiously, you will notice traces of mud and particles kicked up by the impression.
About 17 hours after the impression, the ejected particles adjustments form because of interactions between Dimorphos and its bigger associate asteroid, Didymos. The gravitational pull of Didymos yanks the particles towards it, inflicting the ejecta to tackle a pinwheel sample.
However the pinwheel doesn’t final. As time passes, the lightest particles of particles fly the farthest from the asteroid, and the particles subject turns into extra diffuse. At a larger distance (across the 16-second mark within the video) the particles tails break up in two.
Shortly after the September take a look at, NASA scientists determined that Dimorphos’ orbit had indeed been changed by about 32 minutes, proving that humankind can redirect the trajectory of our bodies in house.
The DART group is a winner of the 2023 Gizmodo Science Fair, for its successful effort in changing Dimorphos’ trajectory. The experiment, which wasn’t assured to work, offers the primary steps towards a viable technique for planetary protection.