Astronomers keeping an eye on that asteroid NASA whacked

Dimorphos asteroid, NASA/ESA/STScI/Hubble

Astronomers are still watching that asteroid that NASA whacked with a spacecraft back in September, in the first-ever test of whether an asteroid could be deliberately pushed off-course

Almost immediately after NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission sent a golf cart-sized spacecraft crashing into an asteroid called Dimorphos, scientists hailed it as a huge success – and a powerful demonstration that an asteroid’s trajectory can be altered…

The collision altered the path of Dimorphos through space, shortening the time it takes to orbit another, larger asteroid by 33 minutes, according a new analysis in the journal Nature. The journal published a study detailing the results this week, alongside four additional scientific reports on this unprecedented asteroid deflection experiment…

Next year, the European Space Agency will send out a mission called Hera that should take close-up images of the asteroid, revealing the size of any crater left behind. It should also be able to determine the asteroid’s mass. All of this should help astronomers understand even more about how to push asteroids around.

The stuff that sci-fi geeks have known all about…as theory…for much longer than our space research has been a reality. Can’t begin to describe how much fun it is to keep up with the real deal when it’s happening.

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