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Writer Fuel: NASA’s Astroid-Slamming Mission Changed the Shape of Its Target


Scientists have discovered that the target asteroid of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) may have been reshaped by the impact. A new investigation into the collision’s aftermath revealed that the asteroid, which is the smaller component of a binary asteroid system, exhibits a loose “rubble-pile” composition.

DART slammed into the moonlet Dimorphos, which orbits the larger space rock Didymos, on Sept. 26, 2022. The aim of this cosmic assault was to see if a kinetic impact could shift an asteroid’s trajectory around a larger object and verify that this method could be used to shunt a space rock someday if its path fell on a collision course with Earth.

Six months after the impact, NASA confirmed the mission had been successful, with the time it takes Dimorphos to orbit its larger asteroid companion reduced by 33 minutes. Post-impact, one of Dimorphos’ orbits around Didymos takes about 11 hours and 23 minutes. And now, new research shows the impact may also have had major effects on the shape of Dimorphos.

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Full Story From Live Science

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