What about your area of research will be most impacted (pun intended) by the DART mission?
Paolo: Gravity, geophysics and interior modelling of small bodies, orbit determination of asteroids.
Patrick: I will answer this question after the DART impact, because my past experiences with asteroid missions is that we are always surprised and therefore what I may say before may be irrelevant once the impact happened. This is what makes it exciting. We know we still don’t know much and are still in the process of learning how to interact with these objects, and what their amazing geological complexity, as found with past missions, means for planetary defence and science.
Julia: I work on asteroid composition, so the DART mission will provide information about the internal structure of the asteroid, which can be related to its density and so, to its composition.
Jean-Baptiste: The size of the crater relates to the material properties and the inner structure of the asteroid, which informs us about how this object was formed.
Martin: The DART mission will significantly improve our understanding of the impact process on small asteroids and of the mechanical properties of these objects.
Sabina: All areas of research, however, our understanding of impact cratering will greatly benefit from this experiment. It is the first experiment (for which we know the impact conditions and we can measure the outcome) at such large scales and the results will tell us if our numerical models and scaling laws can be extrapolated from lab-scale to planetary-scale.
Naomi: At ISAE-SUPAERO, we will use data from the DART and Hera missions to understand the physical properties of the asteroid, in order to better interpret the DART impact and the asteroid binary system. Our team (SSPA: Space Systems for Planetary Applications) also develop instrumentation such as seismometers that are specifically designed to study the internal structure of small bodies. Therefore, any information we are able to obtain about the seismic response of the asteroid is also going to be extremely important for our research and continuing instrument development.