My research interests include computational astrophysics, orbital dynamics, and planetary defense. I am currently working with Professor Derek Richardson on studying the dynamics of the binary asteroid 65803 Didymos, the target of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission. DART is a planetary defense mission that will test a kinetic impactor’s ability to change the orbit of an asteroid by crashing into Didymos’ moon at velocity of ~6km/s. I use
pkdgrav, a parallel N-body tree code, to study the dynamical state of the Didymos system.
pkdgrav treats each body as an aggregate of spheres to represent a ‘rubble-pile’, and can calculate collision and contact forces between the particles which allows us to do all kinds of fun stuff.