NASA destroyed an asteroid and now it might collide with Mars

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission that broke a distant asteroid may eventually cause craters on the surface of Mars.

1 minute & 20 seconds read time

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) resulted in the asteroid called Dimorphos being shattered and knocked off its original orbit, a groundbreaking mission that proved Earth has the capabilities of redirecting an asteroid should one ever pose a threat to our planet.

NASA destroyed an asteroid and now it might collide with Mars 16516565

The test was more than successful with NASA being able to prove that a kinetic impactor is capable of changing the orbit of an asteroid, therefore changing its overall trajectory. For those that don't know, NASA launched a vending machine-sized spacecraft at an asteroid system that contained two space rocks, Didymos and Dimorphos.

Dimorphos, the smaller of the two, is orbiting its larger companion asteroid Didymos, and after the collision of the DART spacecraft, which was traveling at extremely high speeds, Dimorphos' orbit was reduced its orbit time around Didymos by 32 minutes and 42 seconds. Additionally, the impact resulted in Dimorphos' shape being completely changed. Now a new paper published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, details the possibility of pieces of Dimorphos entering Mars' thin atmosphere and making it down to its surface where it would create craters.

According to the paper 37 boulders with sizes between 13.12 and 22.97 feet were ejected from Dimorphos during the impact. Researchers performed trajectorial analysis on these boulders and found that four instances of a Mars collision. Two of these boulders have a chance to cause craters on the surface of Mars in 6,000 years and the other two in about 15,000 years.

"Given the rarefaction of the Martian atmosphere, we expect the boulders to arrive intact on the ground and excavate a small impact crater," reads the study's abstract

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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