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Kinetic Deflection of an asteroid: Impact Simulations of the DART impact in a heterogeneous target

On 26th of September 2022, NASA’s DART spacecraft impacted the secondary of the Didymos system, Dimorphos [1]. Its impact shortened the orbit of Dimorphos by 33 minutes to 11.37 h [2]. The change of the orbit is caused by a change of Dimorphos’ momentum due to the impact. A fraction of the momentum-change related to the transfer of the spacecraft momentum. The more important fraction of momentum is caused by the ejection of material from Dimorphos. The momentum-enhancement-factor β for vertical impacts is defined as β=1+pEj/pImp, with the ejecta and impactor momentum pEj and pImp, respectively, and was predicted to fall between ~2 and 5, based on impact simulations into homogeneous materials, [3,4,5]. The estimates for β depend on Dimorphos’ properties. For a density of 2400 kg/m³, the estimate is β = (1σ) [6]. Recent studies have shown that heterogeneities in the target (e.g. boulders) affect material ejection and β [7, 8]. In this study, we use impact models to simulate the DART impact with 1-10m-sized boulders, and we test the influence of a potential stronger and denser subsurface layer on β. We find an increase of beta by ~5% for such a subsurface layer in 5m depth, so that we conclude that heterogeneities in >5m depth do not affect β.

We acknowledge the computing time provided for our project bek00041on the supercomputer Lise and Emmy, part of the NHR infrastructure.

[1]Daly et al.(2023),Nature616,443.[2]Thomas et al.(2023),Nature616,448.[3]Raducan et al.(2019),Icarus329,282-295.[4]Stickle et al.(2022),PSJ 3:248.[5]Luther et al.(2022),PSJ3:227.[6]Cheng et al.(2023),Nature616,457.[7]Ormö et al.(2022),EPSL594,117713.[8]Raducan et al.(2022),A&A 665,L10.


Robert Luther1, Mallory DeCoster2, Dawn M. Graninger2, Emma S. G. Rainey2, Angela Stickle2, Sebastian Baldauf1, Kai Wünnemann3
1Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Germany; 2Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Lab; 3Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Germany;Freie Universität Berlin
GeoBerlin 2023