October 25, 2022
The Didymos-Dimorphous system is showing off after it was hit by NASA's Dart spacecraft.
The Dart spacecraft blasted itself into an asteroid last month during NASA's ambitious planetary defense test mission.
It was a huge success, but new follow-up images are showing some unexpected behavior from the Didymos-Dimorphous asteroid system.
NASA and the European Space Agency released a new image showing that the double asteroid system has developed a twin tail.
Which is seen as two stripes extending backwards from a bright ball of blue light.
The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) made history on 26 September when the spacecraft crashed into Dimorphous.
Which is a smaller moon in orbit around the larger asteroid Didymos. It was a test to see if such an impact could change the orbit of a space object.
It worked, and it provides a blueprint for how humanity might deal with a dangerous asteroid that is on its way to endanger Earth.
Astronomers later used ground-based telescopes to observe the long tail of the asteroid.
It was calculated to be about 10,000 kilometers long. NASA called the development of the ejecta's second tail "an astonishing surprise."