June 9, 2023


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An unusual space experiment with the participation of Arab Maghreb Union scientists.  "No object was found on a collision course with Earth"

An unusual space experiment with the participation of Arab Maghreb Union scientists. “No object was found on a collision course with Earth”

The experiment was conducted on the night of September 26-27.

The unusual event occurred around 1:14 p.m. Poland time. A rocky mass 30 times larger than the Moon – the asteroid Demorphos with a diameter of about 160 meters, collided with the DART probe weighing about 570 kg, which caused a slight change in the asteroid’s path

as a professor. Tomasz Kwiatkowski of the Astronomical Observatory of Adam Mickiewicz University in Pozna, and the goal of the experiment, which was prepared by the American and European space agencies (NASA and the European Space Agency), is to investigate whether in this way it is possible to save the Earth from the impact of other asteroids of this type that pass on our planet from From time to time (it is safer to change their orbit than to break these objects into pieces).

The asteroid Demorphos orbits the larger central body (the asteroid Didymos, about 800 meters in diameter) in about 12 hours and is its moon. The featured image, taken before the DART probe impacted Dimorphos, shows a rock-strewn surface less than 10 m in size. The area between them is covered with small pebbles and/or regolith (fine sand)– Reported to Professor Thomas Kwiatkowski.

The impact of the DART probe on Didymos led to a number of interesting effects: changing the period of Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos by a few minutes, forming a crater on the surface of Dimorphos, expelling Dimorphos rocky material into space (some of these rock fragments could have fallen to the surface of Didymos), and so on. Data collected by space probe cameras and telescopes that follow the experiment from Earth will allow studying the internal structure of Demorphos (it can be a uniform mass of rock or a “gravitational conglomerate”, made up of many small rocks held together by gravity)– He adds.

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The Adam Mickiewicz University Astronomical Observatory Institute (IOA UAM), which owns a robotic telescope in Arizona, will also participate in the Didymos/Demorphos observing campaign. IOA is the main research center for this type of facility in Poland. “In addition to the usual scientific work, the observatory also carries out application projects of the European Space Agency (ESA), to support the program for the detection of asteroids potentially threatening to Earth. So far, no object has been found on a collision course with Earth– confirms Professor Kwiatkowski.