5th Oct: Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, QUB: “Moving an Asteroid – Did we do it?” (the results of the DART impact on Didymos)
On 27th September at 00:14 BST, the NASA DART spacecraft hit the small asteroid moon Dimorphos at 6.1 km per second. Designed to change the orbit of Dimorphos around its parent asteroid Didymos, the collision was followed by the accompanying ASI spacecraft LICIACube and a multitude of Earth-based telescopes.
Two decades in the making, this was humanity’s first test of asteroid deflection technology, designed to prevent potentially catastrophic impacts on Earth in the future.
Did it work? What happened? This talk will briefly describe the background to the problem, and the mission plan for DART. First results from the encounter will be shown, and the talk will end with an overview of what happens next.