Aftermath of DART Collision is 10,000-kilometer dust trail
Instantly after NASA crashed its Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos last week, telescopes watching in space and on Earth spotted a plume of dust and debris astronomers refer to as ejecta.
Now, follow-up observations show the dust is being pushed away from the asteroid by the solar wind, creating a tail that’s similar to those we’re accustomed to seeing trailing comets…
The observations and more conducted by numerous other astronomers will begin to paint a more detailed picture of the DART impact in coming weeks, including how much material the asteroid ejected and how much of it is made up of larger chunks versus fine dust.
The hope is all this will also better inform any future efforts to divert more threatening space rocks that attempt to call on Earth without an invitation.
Lifetime sci-fi geeks (like yours truly) feel truly rewarded seeing longheld theory approaching practice. Keep on rocking, space geeks!