NASA and ESA have a unique plan to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid—here’s why.
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Agencies around the world are working to bring samples of asteroids back to Earth, like NASA’s Osiris-Rex and JAXA’s Hayabusa-2, because bringing a piece back is like looking into a time capsule from the universe. BUT asteroids pose a serious threat to Earth. And ESA and NASA have a unique plan to combat that particular problem: they’re going to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid.
But asteroids also post a serious threat to Earth and so ESA and NASA formed a scientific collaboration known as the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment, or AIDA, to combat this potential problem. The collab consists of two missions: NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, and ESA’s Hera Probe.
DART will smash into an asteroid in 2022 helping the AIDA mission study how effective a kinetic impactor would be in asteroid deflection and then four years later the Hera probe will arrive to do some assessments.
Find out more about the ins and outs of this space collaboration in this Countdown to Launch.
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“Hera – named after the Greek goddess of marriage – will be humankind’s first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system, a little understood class making up around 15% of all known asteroids.”
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“Europe has confirmed its participation in humanity’s first full-on planetary-defense demo.”
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“Hera is proposed as ESA’s contribution to a larger international endeavor, the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) collaboration.”