Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Smash Worked Because Physics Works

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Solar System, Astrophysics, Nature of Science, History of Science

This update on the DART - Double Asteroid Redirection Test -mission to the asteroid Dimorphos is of a NASA news conference. You recall that DART involved an intentional collision with the target asteroid.

The video is long (1 h 01 s)  but includes NASA and Italian Spcae Agency leaders, a panel of scientists. The orbit, the period, of Dimorphos around Didymos has changed - from 11 h 55 m to 11 h 23 m or by 32 minutes. I suspect that this number will become more refined as more data are collected, e.g.,The impact introduced a wobble. Furthermore, this mission isn't over. In 2026 and other mission - Hera - should arrive to make further observations, e.g., the aftermath of the impact. You may find the panelists and the questions they are asked of more interest and information than the early segment of this program.

There is a very good Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) discussion of the DART science which includes animations, illustrations, photographs and sections to which you can jump on the importance of the mission, how it works (Newton's Laws rule, basic physics), on following the mission, teaching it and more explorations. 

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