With the aim of developing a defense system against asteroids that are dangerous to the earth, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States and the European Space Agency (ESA) will attempt to cover an asteroid at 150 meters distance. diameter.
Both agencies will try to reach the asteroid Didymos by carrying out a Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in December 2020 and targeting one of its moons: Didymoon, located at around 11 million. of kilometers from the earth.
The kinetic impact technique will be used to change the path of a hypothetically dangerous asteroid for the earth for the first time. To achieve this, scientists are planning to send a space probe to collide with the asteroid and change course, ESA explained.
The deviation of the celestial body will be measured and analyzed to evaluate whether this method has any potential in the event of a real threat. Didymoon was chosen as an object of proof because it was very small and did not pose a major threat.
"We will understand better if this technique can be used even for larger asteroids, which will give us the certainty that we can protect our planet if necessary," said Michael Kuppers, an ESA scientist.
Companies from all over Europe come together to tackle the various aspects of the Impact Mission Against Asteroid (AIM) proposed by ESA. The European mission will gather all technical data necessary to validate the impact models.