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On the Possibility of Coorbital Particles around the Binary Asteroid (65803) Didymos after the DART Impact

Presentation #310.06 in the session Asteroids: Dynamics (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
On the Possibility of Coorbital Particles around the Binary Asteroid (65803) Didymos after the DART Impact

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission successfully performed the first experiment of a kinetic impactor for asteroid deflection by impacting Dimorphos, the satellite of near-Earth binary asteroid (65803) Didymos, as a planetary defense test. The observations have shown a complex evolution of the ejecta from the surface of Dimorphos. At first, the gravitational interaction between the Didymos binary system and the ejected dust dominated the process, but later on, solar radiation pressure became the dominant factor.

The Hera spacecraft is planned to image the materials ejected from the surface of Dimorphos in 2026. Thus, the coorbital region around the asteroid Didymos may eventually trap particles from these materials that the Hera mission might detect later in a binary asteroid system for the first time.

This work explores the existence of coorbital particles orbiting the binary asteroid (65803) Didymos after the DART impact. To achieve this, we have designed a simulation model to predict the trajectory of ejected particles during the impact. The model considers the gravitational pull of the binary system’s polyhedral shapes and the pressure of solar radiation.

We simulated the movement of particles at various escape speeds to observe the most frequent coorbital orbits around the asteroid Didymos. The particles’ dynamics were chaotic because they repeatedly came close to the two asteroids. Despite this, we discovered that certain particles were able to survive in the coorbital environment of the binary system for a duration similar to the arrival time of Hera.

Our numerical simulations indicate the presence of coorbital particles in Tadpole and Horseshoe orbits. Additionally, we have observed trajectories of coorbital particles switching between these two types of orbits. We have also analyzed the effects of particle impacts on both components and determined the locations where fallen particles are most likely to land on the surfaces of Didymos and Dimorphos. These results give insights into this binary system’s topographic environment that could guide future observations from the Hera space probe.

Acknowledgments: The author thanks the São Paulo State University (UNESP), School of Engineering and Sciences, Campus Guaratinguetá (grant 06/2023-PROPe - IEPe-RC), the Center for Scientific Computing (NCC/GridUNESP) of the São Paulo State University (UNESP), and the Center for Mathematical Sciences Applied to Industry (CeMEAI), funded by FAPESP (grant 2013/07375-0).

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