New asteroid dinkinesh reveals tiny moon

06.11.2023 posted by Admin

NASA's Lucy Mission unveils astonishing asteroid duo near Mars

In October 2021, NASA's Lucy spacecraft was sent into space on a mission to study asteroids around Jupiter. Recently, it captured an image of a smaller asteroid near Mars, revealing a surprising find for scientists.

This newfound asteroid, named Dinkinesh, had an unexpected companion – a tiny moon orbiting around it. The discovery occurred during a flyby of Dinkinesh in the primary asteroid belt of Mars, located approximately 300 million miles away from Earth, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The photograph was taken when Lucy was positioned 270 miles away from Dinkinesh, and it transmitted the collected data and images back to Earth.

The data unveiled the size of Dinkinesh, measuring just over half a mile in diameter, and the small moon orbiting it, which was about one-tenth of a mile in size.

This mission to capture images of Dinkinesh served as a rehearsal for a more extensive endeavor: the study of enigmatic asteroids near Jupiter. This 12-year mission, commencing on October 16, 2021, marks the inaugural exploration of Jupiter's asteroids.

These asteroids follow orbits around the Sun at a distance equivalent to that of Jupiter. Lucy is anticipated to reach the first of these Trojan asteroids in 2027, and it will examine them for at least six years. What initially started as a list of seven asteroids to investigate has expanded to 11.

The name "Dinkinesh" translates to "you are marvelous" in the Amharic language of Ethiopia. It is also the Amharic appellation for "Lucy," the 3.2-million-year-old hominid fossil discovered in Ethiopia in the 1970s, after which the spacecraft is named.

"Dinkinesh truly lived up to its name; this discovery is indeed marvelous," remarked Hal Levison, the lead scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, in a statement.
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