NASA and ESA Team Up to Stop a Killer Asteroid Impact

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 - 2:12PM
Space
ESA
Science News
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 - 2:12PM
NASA and ESA Team Up to Stop a Killer Asteroid Impact
Where's Bruce Willis when you need him? NASA and ESA are aiming to prevent an Armageddon-like apocalypse by developing connected missions that will deflect killer asteroids from hitting Earth.

The two space agencies are teaming up on the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA), the first international effort to protect Earth from a massive asteroid impact. ESA's leg of the project, called the Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) began designing a specialized spacecraft in March, which will study the binary asteroid system of Didymos and its moon, affectionately nicknamed "Didymoon." ESA aims to place a lander on Didymoon in a mission that is expected to launch in 2020.

NASA's leg of the mission, Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), has not begun designing its spacecraft yet, but is expected to begin the design phase within the next few months. NASA is taking a slightly different tack, working in concert with ESA; instead of landing a probe on Didymoon, they will kamikaze one straight into it. The DART spacecraft will fly into Didymoon at 13,420 mph, destroying itself in the process.

"AIM will be watching closely as DART hits Didymoon," ESA's Ian Carnelli said in a statement. "In the aftermath, it will perform detailed before-and-after comparisons on the structure of the body itself, as well as its orbit, to characterize DART's kinetic impact and its consequences."

"DART's shifting of Didymoon's orbit will mark the first time humanity has altered the dynamics of the solar system in a measurable way," Carnelli said.

Via Blastr.
Science
NASA
Space
ESA
Science News

Load Comments