哈勃和韦伯望远镜捕捉到小行星撞击的惊艳画面(双语)

哈勃和韦伯望远镜捕捉到小行星撞击的惊艳画面

美国国家航空航天局(NASA)航天器,本周撞击小行星的绝美图像已经新鲜出炉,这是世界上首次进行此类行星防御测试。

NASA周四(9月29日)发布了哈勃和韦伯太空望远镜拍摄的这一重大事件的照片。

几个小时后,SpaceX与NASA一起宣布,他们正在研究向哈勃发送私营任务的可行性,该任务可能由一位亿万富翁领导,以提升这一老化的望远镜的轨道并延长其寿命。

NASA“双小行星重定向测试”(DART)宇宙飞船,本周一猛烈撞击距离地球700万英里(1100 万公里)的一块不构成威胁的太空岩石,试图改变其轨道,地球七大洲的所有太空望远镜都在观测这一事件。

科学家要到11月才能知道确切的变化。如果有一天一颗致命的小行星向我们袭来,这次演示结果有望增强人们对使用该技术的信心。

约翰斯·霍普金斯大学行星天文学家和任务负责人安迪·里夫金(Andy Rivkin)在一份声明中说:“这是一次前所未有的观测,而观测对象是一个前所未有的事件。”

所有这些照片将帮助科学家更多地了解小行星“迪莫弗斯”(Dimorphos),航天器撞击这颗小行星并最终留下一个相当巨大的陨石坑。 撞击使岩石和泥土流喷射进入太空,在最新的照片中显示为明亮的放射状光线。

NASA指出,哈勃望远镜拍摄的图像显示,在撞击之后,这个双小行星系统——直径525英尺(160米)的“迪莫弗斯”实际上是一颗更大的小行星的伴星(卫星)——的亮度增加了两倍。

哈勃和韦伯望远镜将在接下来的几周内继续观察“迪莫弗斯”及其主星“迪迪莫斯”(Didymos)。

耗资3.25亿美元的“双小行星重定向测试”任务于去年启动。 航天器由位于马里兰州劳雷尔的约翰斯·霍普金斯大学应用物理实验室建造和管理。

至于哈勃,NASA官员周四强调,这个32年前发射的望远镜目前状况良好,可能还有十年的寿命。

哈勃的轨道一直在衰变,但如果它从目前的地球上方335英里(540 公里)处提升到375 英里(600公里)处,或更高的地方,它的寿命可能会更长。 为期六个月的技术可行性研究,还将考虑是否可以更换任何部件,可能需要人工操作。

宾夕法尼亚州的科技企业家贾里德·艾萨克曼(Jared Isaacman),去年为自己的SpaceX飞行提供了资金支持。他表示,如果哈勃的私人任务获得批准,将会非常适合他计划中的一系列太空飞行。 但他没有说自己是否会主动请缨。

NASA科学任务负责人托马斯·祖布臣(Thomas Zurbuchen)告诉记者:“我们永远在研究一些疯狂的想法。坦率地说,这就是我们应该做的事情。”

(本文依据了美联社的报道。)


美国国家航空航天局发布的DART航天器撞击小行星的画面。(2022年9月30日)
This combination of images provided by NASA shows three different views of the DART spacecraft impact on the asteroid Dimorphos on Sept. 26, 2022.

Space Telescopes Captured Asteroid Strike With Striking Clarity

The world now has stunning new photos of this week’s asteroid strike, the first planetary defense test of its kind.

NASA on Thursday released pictures of the dramatic event taken by the Hubble and Webb space telescopes.

A few hours later, SpaceX joined NASA in announcing that they’re studying the feasibility of sending a private mission to Hubble, potentially led by a billionaire, to raise the aging telescope’s orbit and extend its life.

Telescopes on all seven continents watched as NASA’s Dart spacecraft slammed Monday into the harmless space rock, 7 million miles (11 million kilometers) from Earth, in hopes of altering its orbit.

Scientists won’t know the precise change until November; the demo results are expected to instill confidence in using the technique if a killer asteroid heads our way one day.

“This is an unprecedented view of an unprecedented event,” Johns Hopkins University planetary astronomer and mission leader Andy Rivkin said in a statement.

All these pictures will help scientists learn more about the little asteroid Dimorphos, which took the punch and ended up with a sizable crater. The impact sent streams of rock and dirt hurtling into space, appearing as bright emanating rays in the latest photos.

The brightness of this double asteroid system — the 525-foot (160-meter) Dimorphos is actually the moonlet around a bigger asteroid — tripled after the impact as seen in the Hubble images, according to NASA.

Hubble and Webb will keep observing Dimorphos and its large companion Didymos over the next several weeks.

The $325 million Dart mission was launched last year. The spacecraft was built and managed by Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

As for Hubble, NASA officials stressed Thursday that the observatory launched 32 years ago is in good shape and might have another decade of life left.

Hubble’s orbit constantly is decaying, but the telescope could have even more years ahead if it were boosted from its current 335 miles (540 kilometers) above Earth to 375 miles (600 kilometers) or more. The six-month technical feasibility study also will consider whether any parts could be replaced, presumably by a crew.

Jared Isaacman, a Pennsylvania tech entrepreneur who bankrolled his own SpaceX flight last year with contest winners, said a Hubble mission, if approved, would fit nicely into his planned series of spaceflights. But he stopped short of saying whether he was volunteering.

“We’re working on crazy ideas all the time,” NASA’s science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, told reporters. “Frankly, that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

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