Pre-encounter Predictions of DART Impact Ejecta Behavior and Observability

Fahnestock, Eugene G.; Cheng, Andrew F.; Ivanovski, Stavro; Michel, Patrick; Raducan, Sabina D.; Rossi, Alessandro; Abell, Paul A.; Chesley, Steven; Dotto, Elisabetta; Ferrari, Fabio; Kolokolova, Ludmilla; Kramer, Emily; Li, Jian-Yang; Schwartz, Stephen R.; Soldini, Stefania; Tancredi, Gonzalo; Bagatin, Adriano Campo; Zhang, Yun (2022). Pre-encounter Predictions of DART Impact Ejecta Behavior and Observability. The planetary science journal, 3(9), p. 206. IOP Publishing 10.3847/psj/ac7fa1

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We overview various efforts within the DART Investigation Team’s Ejecta Working Group to predict the characteristics, quantity, dynamical behavior, and observability of DART impact ejecta. We discuss various methodologies for simulation of the impact/cratering process with their advantages and drawbacks in relation to initializing ejecta for subsequent dynamical propagation through and away from the Didymos system. We discuss the most relevant forces acting on ejecta once decoupled from Dimorphos’s surface and highlight various software packages we have developed and used to dynamically simulate ejecta under the action of those forces. With some additional software packages, we explore the influence of additional perturbing effects, such as interparticle collisions within true N-body codes and nonspherical and rotating particles’ interplay with solar radiation pressure. We find that early-timescale and close-proximity ejecta evolution is highly sensitive to some of these effects (e.g., collisions) while relatively insensitive to other factors. We present a methodology for turning the time-evolving size- and spatially discretized number density field output from ejecta simulations into synthetic images for multiple platforms/cameras over wide-ranging vantage points and timescales. We present such simulated images and apply preliminary analyses to them for nominal and off-nominal cases bracketing realistic total mass of ejecta and ejecta cumulative size–frequency distribution slope. Our analyses foreshadow the information content we may be able to extract from the actual images taken during and after the DART encounter by both LICIACube and Earth-vicinity telescopes.

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, Ferrari, Fabio


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




IOP Publishing




Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2023 16:24

Last Modified:

19 Mar 2023 02:15

Publisher DOI:





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