Scientists and Engineers from United States and Europe Grouping Up to Deflect Asteroids

James Marshall
September 5, 2019

The focus of the upcoming mission will be the sub-kilometer near-Earth asteroid Didymos and its moon.

Specialists from across the globe will attend the Worldwide Asteroid Influence Deflection Evaluation Workshop, which is happening between September 11-13. It will take place on September 11 to 13 at the Aula Ottagona in central Rome.

DART can perform its mission without Hera - The effect of its impact on the asteroid's orbit will be measurable using Earth ground-based observatories alone.

According to NASA, which keeps an up to date database of all known NEOs, no known asteroid poses a significant risk of impact within the coming century but the fact that 2019 QS was only spotted a week ago shows our planetary early warning defenses could do with some. The second spacecraft will survey the crash site and gather the most data possible on the effects of this collision. Hera will be a part of the new ESA Space Safety Programme.

'A global effort is the suitable method ahead - planetary defence is in everybody's curiosity'. An Italian cubesat, LICIACube, will study the moment of impact.

After this, Hera will play its half.

On September 14, asteroid 200 QW7, which measures between 290 meters and 650 meters long in diameter (two Empire State Buildings), will fly past the Earth at 14,400 miles per hour and will pass 3.3 million miles from Earth.

At a later date, the European Space Agency will follow up with the Hera mission in a bid to get even closer to the impacted asteroid, and possibly even land on it.

The ESA craft is presently in its ultimate design section, with European area ministers anticipated to resolve whether or not to green-light building of the auto in the course of the Area19 Ministerial Convention in Madrid, Spain, in November 2019.

If everything goes well, NASA will deploy the DART spacecraft sometime in July 2021.

On the convention, members will likely be discussing not exclusively the progress of the craft concerned within the deflection mission, but additionally outcomes from astronomical observations of the Didymos asteroids. Didymos is classified as a near-Earth object (NEO) that is "potentially hazardous".

The smaller body only orbits the main body at a few centimetres per second, making the job of knocking it off course a feasible one.

The identical wouldn't be potential, for instance, with a single asteroid orbiting round a star.

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

Mr Carnelli added that the Hera mission would allow new deep space mini satellites - which are called CubeSats - to be tested, and provide the ESA with valuable experience of low-gravity operations.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER