Nasa’s DART spacecraft successfully slammed into an asteroid on September 26. Video reveals the very moment of the collission.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test also known as DART successfully crashed into its target asteroid on September 26 and you can watch the video of the collision. The world’s first planetary defence technology demonstration included crashing a 570kg spacecraft into binary asteroid system named asteroid 65803 Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos. The target was the moonlet. While people across the globe are celebrating the success, a satellite, several telescopes in space and across Earth captured the spectacular view of NASA’s DART spacecraft crashing into the asteroid Dimorphos. In fact, the best video was by the spacecraft itself shooting live even as it carried out ts kamikaze suicide dive into the space rock. A breathtaking image captured by NASA showed dust cloud sprayed up on the target asteroid.
LICIACube is a tiny Italian satellite that flew just behind DART and captured the impact after 3 minutes. As reported by Nature.com, its first images, released by the Italian Space Agency on September 27, show a large plume of dust coming off the target asteroid after DART had slammed into it while the cloud of rocks and other debris spread quickly upwards.
The report further says that studying the plume’s evolution will give insight on the physical properties of Dimorphos. Elisabetta Dotto, LICIACube’s science team lead at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome, said at a press briefing, “by analysing how the plume formed and dispersed, researchers can calculate how much of DART’s kinetic energy went into ejecting debris from Dimorphos, and how much might have gone into altering the asteroid’s orbit — the goal of the mission.”
The spacecraft that crashed into space rock was also finished. “A lot of it is pulverised, and some of it is melted,” says Megan Bruck Syal, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Cameras used by LICIACube to capture DART moments
LICIACube used two cameras — a black-and-white named LEIA and a three-colour named LUKE — to photograph Dimorphous before and after the DART crash. The pictures displays dramatic lightning at the time of impact.