Model of Double Asteroid Redirection Test Impact Ejecta Plume Observations

Cheng, Andrew F.; Raducan, S. D.; Fahnestock, Eugene G.; Dotto, Elisabetta; Della Corte, Vincenzo; Stickle, Angela M. (2022). Model of Double Asteroid Redirection Test Impact Ejecta Plume Observations. The planetary science journal, 3(6), p. 131. IOP Publishing 10.3847/PSJ/ac66e9

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The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft will impact the moon Dimorphos of the [65803]
Didymos binary in order to demonstrate asteroid deflection by a kinetic impactor. DART will measure the
deflection by using ground-based telescopic observations of the orbital period change of Didymos and will carry
the Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) cubesat, which will perform a flyby of Didymos
about 167 s after the DART impact, obtaining images of the DART impact ejecta plume. LICIACube images
showing the ejecta plume spatial structure and temporal evolution will help determine the vector momentum
transfer from the DART impact. A model is developed for the impact ejecta plume optical depth, using a pointsource scaling model of the DART impact. The model is applied to expected LICIACube plume images and shows
how plume images enable characterization of the ejecta mass versus velocity distribution. The ejecta plume
structure, as it evolves over time, is determined by the amount of ejecta that has reached a given altitude at a given
time. The evolution of the plume optical depth profiles determined from LICIACube images can distinguish
between strength-controlled and gravity-controlled impacts, by distinguishing the respective mass versus velocity
distributions. LICIACube plume images discriminate the differences in plume structure and evolution that result
from different target physical properties, mainly the strength and porosity, thereby allowing inference of these
properties to improve the determination of DART impact momentum transfer.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Raducan, Sabina-Denisa


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




IOP Publishing




Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2023 12:17

Last Modified:

16 Mar 2023 23:27

Publisher DOI:





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