ESA: Mission Hera will study asteroid diversion from impact with Earth

The European ministers in charge of the ESA space agency approved the Hera mission. This means that the possibility of preventing the collision of large asteroids with Earth will be tested. Thus, the idea will be to change the flight path of these rocks. A probe will be sent to study this binary system of asteroids, Didymos and Didymoon, their small satellite.

The agency showed several simulations comparing the size of these asteroids with some of the most famous monuments of European cities.

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The Hera mission will test whether deflection can save humanity from an asteroid harmful. During the $ 320 million mission, ESA and NASA will send a pair of spacecraft to a double asteroid system called Didymos.

NASA will first crash its DART probe into the smaller asteroid (Didymoon) at a speed of about 21,000 km / h. This event will be logged by a cubesat Italian called LICIACube. Later, the Hera mission will arrive to map the impact crater and measure the mass of the asteroid.

This ship Hera will carry two CubeSats that can fly extremely close to the asteroid surface before landing. The suitcase-sized spacecraft will act as drones, capturing vital impact crater data and providing data to scientists, including the mass of the asteroid that will help them deduce its composition.

The goal, according to ESA, is to "transform asteroid deflection into a well-known planetary defense technique."

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Because Didymoon orbits its larger companion (as a kind of natural satellite), scientists should be able to measure the effect of DART on its trajectory, even if it is very small. The smaller asteroid is the size of the Colosseum in Rome, so it could destroy an entire city if it collided with Earth.

Man never deflected an asteroid

Although it is well designed, it is a very complicated mission. This is because asteroids are still relatively small and no spacecraft have ever flown to these tiny space bodies before.

Although an asteroid collision is a very unlikely event, it is actually preventable, unlike an earthquake or volcanic explosion.

We really need to follow carefully (about 2,000 objects near Earth) not to participate in the collection of wonderful dinosaurs here in Berlin.

She told Holger Sierks, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute, to earlier this month.

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Asteroids demand challenging measures

ESA's Hera Mission will go to a very strange place. It will fly to a 780-meter asteroid that has its own moon, another 160-meter rock that orbits 1.2 km away.

That said may not have the desired impact due to a matter of scale. However, if we buy the pair of Didymos asteroids next to the Eiffel Tower, understanding will be different.

Therefore, we will have to wait until 2022 to watch the DART probe collide with the smaller asteroid to change its orbit. Later, in 2026, it will be Hera's turn to Didymoon, which should improve understanding of this large-scale space experience.

Spaceship Hera will have on board two small cube-shaped satellites

As noted above, the CubeSats are two small, suitcase-shaped satellites that will study the physical characteristics of the asteroid. In this sense, we will have another new datum, because Didymoon will be the smallest natural body ever studied by a space mission. Moreover, this will also be the first object in space whose orbit will be changed by man.

Comparing the asteroids with the monuments of European cities was a way of celebrating the mission's approval.

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