From the European Space Agency the green light to the Hera mission: this will stop the asteroids that will threaten us and our planet.
ESA’s ok for the Hera mission is to save Earth and humanity from the threat of an asteroid on a collision course with the planet. A bit like Armageddon, but with more science and less science fiction. It will come to life thanks to a 290 million euro investment and will be conducted in partnership with the NASA.
Hera: ESA and NASA to save the Earth from asteroids
During the first phase, the two space agencies will send some vehicles to Didymos, a binary asteroid, created by two celestial bodies, one with a diameter of about 780 meters and the other smaller, 160 meters. First, the American agency will hit the smaller part using the DART system, impacting it at a speed of about 21,400 km/h, then Hera will arrive on-site to assess the outcome of the operation in order to collect useful data for future developments.
The event will be observed at a safe distance by LICIACube (Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids), a small satellite designed in Argotec’s Turin laboratories specifically for this purpose.
Hera will bring with it two more small units capable of acting as drones, moving very close to Didymos before landing there, capturing data on the shape of the asteroid and its composition. The ultimate goal of the mission, according to ESA, is to set up an effective system for asteroid deflection or to intervene in time in case of danger to deflect its trajectory.