ASTEROID TARGETED BY DART MISSION WILL NOT BE 'FLUNG TO EARTH' AFTER IMPACT
ANU astrophysicist and cosmologist Dr Brad Tucker says “one of the reasons” NASA chose to hit the asteroid Dimorphos to test the DART system is because it is out of the way and will be kept in orbit.
“There’s two asteroids actually; there’s a bigger one and a smaller one; the smaller one almost acts like a moon,” he told Sky News Australia.
“We’ll crash into the smaller one, and the bigger one, through its gravity, will keep the smaller one in check.”
Dr Tucker said this meant scientists were able to check how much the asteroid shifted after the rocket slammed into it and can measure if the larger asteroid, Didymos, will move.
“There’s nowhere near enough force to be able to kick it out of its system, which means we’re not going to accidentally fling it to the Earth,” he said.
“That’s actually why this system was chosen in particular because there’s that bigger one to help aid us in the measurements and keeping the system stable.”