What is Dimorphos: will it save Earth from asteroids?

The NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is one of the great space projects of 2022, as its name says, it is the opportunity to do a defensive test for a possible impact on Earth.

For that NASA will use lto the DART spacecraft, which will execute a kinetic impactDeliberately slamming into the asteroid to change its motion in space.

These days, the Space Agency has decided to change the name of the moon of the closest asteroid to Earth, Didymos B, to the strategic name of Dimorphos.

“Upon discovery, asteroids get a temporary name until we know their orbits well enough to know that they will not be lost. Once the Didymos system was identified as the ideal target for the DART mission, we had to formally distinguish between the main body and the satellite, “said Andy Rivkin, research astronomer and co-director of DART research at the Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Applied Physics (APL), which is building and managing the mission for NASA.

On choosing the name Dimorphos, Kleomenis Tsiganis, a planetary scientist at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a member of the DART team, commented as follows:

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“Dimorphos, which means ‘two shapes’, reflects the status of this object as the first celestial body to have the ‘shape’ of its orbit significantly changed by humanity, in this case, by the impact of DART,” he said. Tsiganis. “As such, it will be the first object known to humans in two very different ways, one seen by DART before impact and the other seen by Hera from the European Space Agency (ESA) a few years later.”

Measuring 560 feet (1.60 meters) in diameter, Dimorphos is the perfect target for the DART test because of its orbit around the largest main body Didymos (measuring 780 meters, or 0.48 miles, in diameter), and because the pair will be relatively very close to Earth by the end of 2022.

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