See NASA’s first eerie images of DART’s asteroid crash site

See NASA's first eerie images of DART's asteroid crash site
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On Monday, the world watched as A tiny NASA spacecraft called DART met its explosive fate. This box, slightly larger than an oven and winged with solar panels, had been destined to die since he left the Earth in November.

The mission of the double asteroid redirection test was simple: crash into a large asteroid so that scientists can see if that impact pushes the space rock slightly. If so, perhaps a future asteroid on a collision course with Earth can be averted with a similar spaceship suicide mechanism: a way to save humanity and avenge the dinosaurs.

All the way, on its way to the target asteroid Dimorphos, DART obediently took pictures of its impending doom. Then came his last interrupted words. The probe was only able to transmit a swath of its future rocky resting place because the rest of the image was unable to load before it failed completely. Silence.

But exactly 15 days before impactDART deployed a small satellite to capture, from a bird’s eye view, the gruesome details of its end-of-life and asteroid grave.

On Tuesday, this satellite, called LICIACube by the Light Italian CubeSat for imaging asteroids — posted his first pictures.

Before impact, LICIACube hovered a safe distance from the impact site, waiting for DART to simply die. He then flew past the site once things calmed down a bit, about three minutes after the accident, and I used it Dual camera system to take photos of the evidence.

In these images, you can see debris streams flowing around Dimorphos, coming from DART’s 14,000 mph fall on the asteroid’s surface. LICIACube also took images of the asteroid’s far side during a brief flyby and a couple of more evocative photos of the rock’s vicinity. When the satellite’s science team first saw these portraits, the room erupted in applause.

“Our intrepid little reporter,” Andrew Cheng, DART principal investigator and planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory called LICIACube, in a sentence. “What you will witness and document will provide us with unique and important information that we would not otherwise be able to see.”

Next, the DART team plans to investigate these images with immense precision to see what kind of critical accident information LICIACube was able to collect. “Now the science can begin,” Katarina Miljkovic of Curtin University in Australia, said in a statement. “This is to ensure that if Earth ever came across a dangerous asteroid hurtling towards us, we would know what to do.”

Within a few years, the European Space Agency also intends to send its own DART detection satellite, called HERA, to accompany LICIACube in the quest to decipher the The dusty aftermath of Impact.

It will be a couple of months before scientists reveal any answers about whether DART worked; in other words, did he really adjust Dimorphos’s trajectory? — but along the way, we can probably expect an exciting influx of observations from all over the world. Ground-based telescopes everywhere pointed directly at the show.

A screenshot of NASA's live DART broadcast.  Only a swath of the asteroid's surface is visible in the final DART image.  The rest of the screen is dark red.

The last interrupted words of DART.

Screenshot from CNET/NASA

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, for example, peered from its station a million miles from Earth, and the Hubble Space Telescope attempted to capture some raw images while in orbit of our planet. astronomers with the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome they have already begun to publish some data from the drama of the telescope and those who work at the Les Makes observatory in the Indian Ocean as well shared some of the juicy details.

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