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DART spacecraft imaging Jupiter and its moons: a unique sight

Always infinite space The source of great miraclesDespite the remarkable scientific advances in recent decades, it remains largely a mystery to be solved. During one of the most recent missions organized by NASA, a surprising thing happened: the DART . spaceshipOn his journey toward an asteroid collision, he photographed Jupiter and its four largest moons, giving us an amazing glimpse from space.

Jupiter and its moons, DART . spacecraft image

Hiding in our skies Great offers: Every now and then one of these things is immortalized, revealing something more about the intricate mysteries of space. This is exactly what happened recently thanks to DART . space probe, which has traveled for more than 10 months heading towards an asteroid with the aim of colliding with it, in compliance with a mission organized by NASA. The spacecraft, to watch the collision, had one instrument on board: the camera Draco (Didymos reconnaissance and Asteroid camera for optical navigation), programmed to take high-resolution images, and more.

While roaming long in the open space, DART stumbled upon one of them breathtaking view. In fact, Draco took thousands of photographs of the stars, to provide new information to the team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), which led the mission. One of the most surprising things is the ones he portrays Jupiter with four of its largest moons (From left: Ganymede, EuropeMe and Callisto). If we leave the show speechless and give scientists new images of the solar system, what follows is even more important.

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In fact, the only goal of the DRACO camera was not to Bringing amazing photos back to earth: Its main function was to support the spacecraft’s autonomous driving system, SMART Nav. Astronomers took the opportunity to “target” Europa’s moon as it appeared from behind Jupiter, a situation similar to what would happen later with an asteroid collision. Of course, the goal was not to collide the probe with the moon of the planet, but to perform a simulation and thus evaluate SMART Nav performance in flight. The APL team had the opportunity to better understand how the density and number of pixels of objects differ as the targets moved.

DART PURPOSE: “Apocalypse” mission

About a year ago, I started a very special mission. NASA launched a space probe DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), with the aim of allowing it to collide with the asteroid Demorphos, which orbits a larger asteroid called Didymos. The expedition wanted to test the possibility of deviating the path of a celestial body possibly directed toward Earth, to defend our planet from Potential future threats (and avoid “Apocalypse” incidents which could lead to the extinction of all life forms).

In the early hours of the morning of September 27, 2022 (Italian time), The spacecraft has entered a collision course with DimorphosSending his latest photos Incredible space trip. Now astronomers will have to analyze how the collision changed the asteroid’s orbit: according to preliminary studies, it should have reduced it by about 1%. “We now know we can guide a spacecraft with the precision needed to hit even a small object in space. Just a small change in its speed is all that is needed to make a big difference in the asteroid’s path,” he said. Thomas Zurbuchenan astrophysicist and co-director of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.

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Maggie Benson

"Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator."

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