We now know that when you drop a space rocket from California and hit an asteroid, something unexpected happens.
That’s what has happened to the small asteroid Demorphos since NASA smashed into it for the Dual Orbit Re-orbiting Test (DART) on September 27. It might be more appropriate to think of Dimorphus as a small satellite orbiting the larger asteroid Didymos.
Sent from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescopelatest photoDemorphus appears dragging its tail after a somewhat sassy cosmic mucus last month.
Perhaps this should be considered a respectful violation of space etiquette in the name of defending Earth against future interstellar invaders. The primary purpose of DART was to see if hitting a meteor with a missile could change its trajectory. Just in case you need to avoid the catastrophic collision that drove the dinosaurs to extinction.
The technique was a success, significantly changing the trajectory of Dimorphus as it circled Didymus.
Scientists responsible for NASA’s science missions partly attribute this change to the ejecta stream, not really a runny nose, but dust and debris from the impact. A jet of debris emitted from the collision helped propel the Demorphos onto a new orbital path.
In the process, the plane gave Demorphos a new look. Comet-like tail. After careful examination, the Hubble Space Telescope revealed that it was two tails of debris.
The two tails are somewhat obscured in the photo above, but they are definitely there.NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA)It was reported that the upper tail was newly formed after the appearance of the first tail immediately after the impact.
The researchers say they don’t know exactly how the second tail appeared, and they will explore multiple potential explanations in the future.
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