NASA made a surprising discovery when it flew over a star considered to be the ‘bone’ of the solar system; see

When flying over the asteroid between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, the spacecraft Lucyyes Nasa (North American Space Agency), discovered that there are two truths: one measuring 790 meters and the other measuring 220 meters in its widest. This is what is called a binary pair.

Lucy’s mission in space is to fly over and collect information about seven stars selected by NASA. The first of them, called Dinkinesh, is in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

An image of two asteroid pairs, Dinkinesh, seen by the Terminal Tracking Camera (T2CAM) on NASA’s Lucy spacecraft during closest approach on November 1, 2023. The images were taken 13 seconds apart . Video: Share / Nasa

When it was discovered in 1999, it was named 1999 VD57. When its orbit was determined correctly, it was assigned the number 152830, but it was not yet named. In January of this year, when the Lucy mission team decided to send the observations of the same name to visit this rock, they asked for a name for it. Dinkinesh means “great” in Ethiopian language.

The asteroid is the first to be visited by the Lucy probe during this mission, and the main purpose of the approach is to test the spacecraft’s engine before it begins its main mission: studying Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids, considered “fossils” of the solar system. But there ended up being a surprise.

Images provided by NASA show a photo taken by the Lucy spacecraft as it flew by the star Dinkinesh, 300 million miles from Earth. Video: NASA/Via AP

A few weeks before the probe arrived at Dinkinesh, NASA scientists thought the star was a binary system, given the way Lucy’s instrument recorded the star’s brightness changing over time. . The first pictures from the meeting on Wednesday, the 1st, remove any doubt: Dinkinesh is binary.

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“It’s an incredible piece of art. They show that the tracking system is working as expected, even if the world presents us with a more difficult target than we expected, “Tom Kennedy, a navigation and navigation expert and one of the people responsible. “It is something to simulate, try and practice. It’s another thing to see if it actually happens. “

This image from a video clip provided by NASA shows the spacecraft Lucy approaching the star. On November 1, 2023, Lucy encounters the first 10 stars on her long journey to Jupiter. Video: NASA/Via AP

Although the approach is the first engineering test, scientists are excited to analyze the data and get more information about the nature of small asteroids.

“We know this will be the smallest asteroid ever seen up close,” said Keith Noll, Lucy scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, USA. “The fact that there are two of them makes everything even more exciting. In some ways, the asteroids appear to be similar to the near-Earth binary asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos, but there are some real differences that we will investigate.”

The next star that will be examined is Donaldjohanson, which the Lucy probe will only reach in 2025. After that, it will examine the star Jupiter in 2027.

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