Dept. of Geosciences Colloquium: Shooting a shooting star – the DART mission to impact an asteroid
David Polishook, Weizmann Institute of Science
For the first time in history, a planetary defense method is being tested. DART, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is on a direct trajectory to impact a satellite of an asteroid in a first-of-its-kind experiment to deal with potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids. The mission aims to measure what is the fraction of the momentum at impact, that is used to deflect the asteroid from its current orbit, and how much will be lost on re-arranging the asteroid’s components due to the body’s weak tensile strength. The mission will not just expose the internal strength of a 200-m wide asteroids, but also has the potential to add significant knowledge about the space weathering effect, that modifies the spectral signature of asteroids, and about the formation of binary asteroids. In the talk I will present the danger imposed by asteroids, the on-going mission, and the questions it is going to answer, while highlighting my astronomical role within the mission.
Event Organizers: Dr. Roy Barkan and Dr. Asaf Inbal