Predictions for the Dynamical States of the Didymos System before and after the Planned DART Impact Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract; NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft is planned to impact the natural satellite of (65803) Didymos, Dimorphos, at around 23:14 UTC on 2022 September 26, causing a reduction in its orbital period that will be measurable with ground-based observations. This test of kinetic impactor technology will provide the first estimate of the momentum transfer enhancement factor β at a realistic scale, wherein the ejecta from the impact provide an additional deflection to the target. Earth-based observations, the LICIACube spacecraft (to be detached from DART prior to impact), and ESA’s follow-up Hera mission, to launch in 2024, will provide additional characterizations of the deflection test. Together, Hera and DART comprise the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment cooperation between NASA and ESA. Here, the predicted dynamical states of the binary system upon arrival and after impact are presented. The assumed dynamically relaxed state of the system will be excited by the impact, leading to an increase in eccentricity and a slight tilt of the orbit, together with enhanced libration of Dimorphos, with the amplitude dependent on the currently poorly known target shape. Free rotation around the moon’s long axis may also be triggered, and the orbital period will experience variations from seconds to minutes over timescales of days to months. Shape change of either body, due to cratering or mass wasting triggered by crater formation and ejecta, may affect β, but can be constrained through additional measurements. Both BYORP and gravity tides may cause measurable orbital changes on the timescale of Hera’s rendezvous.

publication date

  • July 1, 2022

has restriction

  • gold

Date in CU Experts

  • July 19, 2022 12:34 PM

Full Author List

  • Richardson DC; Agrusa HF; Barbee B; Bottke WF; Cheng AF; Eggl S; Ferrari F; Hirabayashi M; Karatekin Ö; McMahon J

author count

  • 36

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2632-3338

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 157

end page

  • 157


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