Researchers simulate defense test against possible asteroid impacts on Earth | Science-Environment

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is the world’s first full planetary defense test against possible asteroid impacts on Earth. Researchers now show that instead of leaving behind a relatively small crater, the impact of the DART spacecraft on its target could leave the asteroid almost unrecognizable. 66 million years ago, a giant asteroid impacted the Soil probably caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Currently, no known asteroids pose an immediate threat. But if one day a large asteroid was discovered on a collision course with… Soilit may need to be deflected from its trajectory to avoid catastrophic consequences.

Last November, the DART space probe of the American space agency NASA was launched as a first large-scale experiment with such a maneuver: its mission is to collide with an asteroid and divert it from its orbit, providing valuable information for the development of such a planetary defense system. In a new study published in The Planetary Science Journal, researchers from the University of Bern and the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS simulated this impact with a new method. Their results indicate that it can distort its target much more severely than previously thought.

Debris instead of solid rock “Contrary to what you might think when imagining an asteroid, direct evidence of space missions such as the Japanese The Space Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 probe shows that asteroid may have a very loose internal structure — similar to a pile of debris — held together by gravitational interactions and small cohesive forces,” said the Institute’s lead author Sabina Raducan. Physics and the National Center of Competence in Research PlanetS at the University of Bern.

But previous simulations of the DART mission impact usually assumed a much sturdier interior of its asteroid target Dimorphos. “This would be the outcome of the clash of… DART and Dimorphosexpected to occur in September,” Raducan noted. Rather than leave a relatively small crater on the 160-meter-wide asteroid, the impact of DART at about 24,000 km/h could completely deform Dimorphos. could also be deflected much more strongly and larger amounts of material could be ejected from the impact than previous estimates predicted.

“One of the reasons that this scenario of a loose internal structure has not been thoroughly studied until now is that the necessary methods were not available,” said lead author Sabina Raducan. “Such impact conditions cannot be simulated in laboratory experiments and the relatively long and complex process of crater formation after such an impact – a matter of hours in the case of dart — until now made it impossible to realistically simulate these impact processes,” said the researcher.

“With our new modeling approach, which takes into account shock wave propagation, compaction and subsequent material flow, we were able to model for the first time the entire crater process resulting from impacts on small asteroids such as Dimorphos,” reports Raducan For this achievement she was awarded by ESA and by the mayor of Nice during a workshop on the DART follow-up mission HERA. Broad horizon of expectations

In 2024, the European Space Agency will send a space probe to Dimorphos as part of the HERA space mission. The goal is to visually visualize the aftermath of the dart probe impact. “To get the most out of the HERA mission, we need to have a good understanding of the potential outcomes of the DART impact,” said co-author Martin Jutzi of the Institute of Physics and the National Center of Competence in Research PlanetS. “Our work on the impact simulations adds an important potential scenario that forces us to broaden our expectations in this regard. This is not only relevant in the context of planetary defense, but also adds an important piece to the puzzle of our understanding of asteroids in general,” concludes Jutzi. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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