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Dimorphos, a veritable pile of rubble

Dimorphos, a veritable pile of rubble

A study published in the journal showed that the asteroid Demorphos, which is undergoing a unique experiment to deviate its path, resembles a pile of debris from the larger asteroid Didymos that it orbits. Nature astronomy (A new window) (in English).

Dimorphos was struck in September 2022 by NASA's DART spacecraft to test the ability to deflect an asteroid that might hit Earth off course.

Asteroid Didymos (top left) and its satellite Demorphos, approximately 2.5 minutes before DART collided with the latter. The image was taken by a DRACO imager at a distance of 920 km.

Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins

The success of the mission, which took place about 11 million kilometers from Earth, can only be measured by the result of the collision with the Demorphos orbit around Didymos.

In this strange duo, the first star, about 160 meters in diameter, orbited the second star, 800 meters in diameter, in about 12 hours. The time was shortened by more than half an hour after the collision. The details were captured in images by a small Italian satellite that accompanied the DART mission, followed by telescopes from Earth.

According to the international team led by Sabina Raducan, a specialist in small celestial objects at the University of Bern, this data It indicates that Dimorphos is a pile of rubbleHe summarizes his study.