Dominik Kiersz - Student Profile
Current research project
Spectroscopic Observations of Near-Earth Asteroids in Support of Hera and DART Missions
My research focuses on Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and their physical characterisation using ground-based spectroscopy.
The core of my research focuses on physical characterisation of the binary Near-Earth Asteroid Didymos plus other asteroids in support of the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) collaboration. This is composed of ESA’s Hera and NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) space missions. The objective is to assess our ability to deflect asteroids using the kinetic impactor technique, calibrate impact simulations, and physically characterise a NEA binary system
At present, I am performing spectroscopic data reduction on X-Shooter data from the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT), to determine the spectrum of Didymos. The reflectance spectroscopy technique can determine mineralogy and other characteristics. Aside from taxonomic studies of NEAs, spectroscopy can constrain physical properties such as surface roughness, minerology though meteorite analogues which narrows down composition; and weathering effects on the surface caused by planetary encounters and the space environment.
I was born in the town of Koszalin, Poland - leaving it at the age of ten. My childhood interest in space and engineering led me to study at the University of Kent in Canterbury between 2015 and 2019, graduating with a first-class MPhys degree in Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics.
My Master’s thesis involved SPH modelling of NEAs and analysing if artificial arrayed impacts increase their disruptive ability, with extensions to this research performed to this day. This allowed me to undertake a DfE funded PhD at Queen’s University Belfast continuing my asteroid science and planetary defence research.
My hobbies and interests include computer hardware and repair, UNIX systems, military history, running and arguing over which way the World will end first – asteroids, climate change or Brexit. You may follow my melancholic adventures on Twitter at @DAKiersz.
- Physical characterisation of Near-Earth Asteroids with ground-based observations – in particular, the evolution and surface processes of NEAs
- Research of planetary defence techniques and their implementation
- Hypervelocity impact physics, especially computational modelling