In 2022, NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft made history by accomplishing something we've only seen in movies. It changed the course of an asteroid that could pose a direct threat to Earth. And after DART crashed into Dimorphos at 14,000 miles per hour on September 26, 2022, everything seemed to be successful, but a group of high school students and their teacher were discovered by a Californian However, it appears that there may be a new and somewhat disturbing development. Dimorphos, which orbits another asteroid called Didymos, is about 525 feet in diameter. After the collision, DART was thought to have shortened Dimorphos' orbital period by 33 minutes.
After further observations, the Thatcher School students discovered that the asteroid's orbital period was actually 34 minutes shorter than it was before the impact, and was decreasing by a few seconds, according to New Scientist magazine. "This was contradictory to an uncomfortable level," Jonathan Swift, a math and science teacher who played a key role in the study, said in an interview. "We tried our best to find cracks in what we had been doing, but we couldn't find anything." The research team shared their findings at the American Astronomical Society meeting in June. , published a preprint of the paper last month. In addition to new discoveries about the unpredictability of colliding asteroids, researchers from the European Space Agency (ESA) observed that there were not one but two tails of debris ejected from the asteroids. , there were other unexpected developments as well. The impact broke off rocky debris from the asteroid, forming a "swarm" of 37 rocks, ranging in size from 3 feet to 22 feet in diameter, around Dimorphos. However, despite this surprising behaviour, there is no need to worry. Dimorphos is 6.8 million miles away and poses no threat to Earth, but on the other hand, discoveries there will teach astronomers about this brand-new space defence technology for years to come, so one of his missions holds the key to understanding the asteroid's wild nature. If all goes to plan, astronomers will know more about DART's impact on Dimorphos by the end of 2026, when ESA's Hera spacecraft arrives at Dimorphos and gives us a better idea of what happened after the crash. You will gain a lot of insight.