Karnelly leads the Hera mission, where a spacecraft will be launched in 2024 to study the consequences of the collision. Hera is scheduled to reach Demorphos in 2026.
The European Space Agency expected to investigate a crater about 10 meters in diameter in advance. “Now it looks like it’s going to be much bigger. If there was a crater, a piece of Demorphos might have shattered,” Carneli said.
Demorphos, the space rock that struck 11 million kilometers from Earth, does not pose any danger to our planet. NASA’s goal was to push the asteroid out of its orbit through the universe. Astronomers hope to make a preliminary estimate within a week of whether this works. An accurate measurement will follow in three or four weeks, according to Carnegie.