Thursday, January 17, 2013

ESA to Attempt Deflection of NEO

No question about it, we have been fixated as of late on the off chance that some rogue asteroid might be on a collision course with the Earth and humanity is doomed.

I am not going to say that it can't happen just that it is damn unlikely.  

So what does that have to do with the price of beans in China you ask?  In this article in ESA online, discusses a mission to take place in 2022 that would entail impacting a near Earth asteroid with a 600 or so pound space-craft, moving at 14,000 mph, then seeing if there was any measurable change in trajectory.  

The asteroid in question is a 2600 ft. binary asteroid called 65803 Didymos and all though it is not a huge asteroid, by comparison the Tunguska object was only most likely 1/10 as large.   Didymos' binary is a apx. 500 foot object orbiting about 1/2 mile out and that will be the target of the ESA's experiment.  

The mission will be called A.I.D.A. for asteroid impact & deflection assessment, and will consist of two craft - DART for double asteroid redirection test and AIM - asteroid impact monitor.  The impactor will be the DART and AIM will record the data. 

If this all sounds a bit familiar, recall the NASA   Deep Impact mission which launched an impactor into the path of the asteroid Temple 1.    Here is one of the films recorded.

Here is the Dvice article

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