NASA teams with European counterparts to stop asteroids hitting Earth

05 Septembre, 2019, 02:28 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Mission profile of NASA’s DART mission which aims to deflect Didymos B — the “moonlet” of the Didymos asteroid system

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA) asteroid researchers and spacecraft engineers, along with other researchers from around the world will meet in Rome from September 11 to September 13 and check the progress in the mission which is known as Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA). These include the smaller nano-spacecraft that they will carry them aboard.

Its goal is to deflect the orbit of the smaller body of the double Didymos asteroids between Earth and Mars via an impact by one spacecraft.

During the three-day International AIDA Workshop in Rome, the participants will share progress on the two spacecrafts, Double Asteroid Impact Test (DART) by NASA, and Hera by ESA.

It sounds like something out of your favorite sci-fi story, but NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are teaming up to help fight against any asteroids that could threaten Earth. For this objective, a spacecraft will be made to crash into the asteroid and later, another spacecraft will reach the asteroid to study the crash site and gather necessary data on effects of the collision, according to ESA.

An Italian-made miniature CubeSat called LICIACube would travel alongside to capture the moment of impact. The ESA will start its part of the mission called Hera to perform a close-up survey of the post-impact crater. Hera will be a part of the new ESA Space Safety Programme.

The Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA)-a collaboration between the two space agencies-is created to demonstrate that such a technique could work if we need to protect our planet from a collision with a large space object.

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HERA will also deploy a pair of its own mini satellites to perform the first asteroid radar drill that can gather information about its surface.

Its launch would then take place in October 2024 and the journey to its destination would take about two years.

"But flying the two missions together will greatly magnify their overall knowledge return".

The outcomes returned by Hera would enable researchers to model the effectivity of the collision better, to show this grand-scale experiment into a way which could be repeated as needed in the event of an actual threat.

'Our mission will take a look at a wide range of vital new applied sciences, together with deep area CubeSats, inter-satellite hyperlinks and autonomous image-based navigation strategies, whereas additionally offering us with priceless expertise of low-gravity operations'. An worldwide effort is the appropriate way forward - planetary defense is in everyone's interest. We can hope that scientist will crack a breakthrough with the results of the upcoming missions to protect us from the extraterrestrial things.

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