Commission F4 Asteroids, Comets & Transneptunian Objects


DART IMPACT:  September 26, 2022

DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) is the first space mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor.

Highlights in asteroids, comets & TNOs study in 2021


  • The marvelous and successful launches of two asteroid missions, Lucy to Trojan asteroids and DART to the binary Didymos.

Lucy will provide first detailed data on asteroids from which we have no meteorite analogue and therefore open a new window on our Solar system history.

DART will perform an impact in a binary asteroid system at a speed that is close to the average one between asteroids, and will change the orbit of the moon Dimorphos around its primary body Didymos. DART will return images until it impacted Dimorphos, and the results will be observed from Earth-based telescopes and an Italian cubesat named LICIACube, released by DART several days prior to arrival.  The ESA Hera mission will rendezvous with the Didymos system to investigate in details the impact outcome in a few years. These missions will allow us to test our asteroid collision models, refine surface chronologies with appropriate scaling rules and feed with parameters at correct scale the collisional evolution models of asteroid populations. 

  • The Pluto System after New Horizons (2021, University of Arizona Press) distills, in 688 pages, our understanding of Pluto, its moons, its place in the Kuiper Belt, and thoughts for ongoing exploration. 


More than 1600 peer-reviewed papers were published in 2021 according to NASA-ADS database, including ~900 papers on asteroids, ~330 papers on comets, and ~370 papers on TNOs and Pluto. The most popular topics were investigations of near-Earth asteroids, Jupiter Trojans, and Pluto.



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