To exploring asteroid didymus and satellites NASA and ESA have to work together on a mission in which a celestial body is deflected by a targeted strike spacecraft from surrounding orbits. The planned 2022 maneuvers could be of vital importance to the ground, if an asteroid comes on a collision course.
The ambitious mission, which is currently being planned jointly by the US and the European Space Agency could one day be of enormous importance. By Aida (Asteroid Impact Assessment & Deflection) NASA and ESA want to test whether a with the targeted impact of a spacecraft can divert asteroid from its orbit. 2020 start the mission and two years later reach their destination, the asteroid Didymus and its small satellites Didymoon.
ESA mission probe will explore asteroid Didymus and its satellites
The Aida mission bipartite scheduled to begin in October 2020th As a target of around 11 million km away, double-Asteroid Didymus was selected. It consists of the 750-meter asteroid Didymus and its approximately 160 m wide, egg-shaped natural satellite Didymoon, of every twelve hours turns his round in just over a kilometer high.
Has the spacecraft reaches its destination, the asteroid-double system should first be explored. This part of the mission is responsible for the ESA with the Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM), in addition to measuring instruments also the center built by the German Aerospace DLR lander Mascot-2 has on board.
Mascot-2 is the first lander ESA since Philae, which is known to the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is. Mascot-2 will land on the asteroid moon, examine its yet unknown mass and density and map it. AIM is the structure, the orbit and the rotation of the small satellites Didymoon investigate, hoping thereby to learn about the origin of the asteroid pair.
NASA mission probe will collide with Didymoon and give him a nudge making possible exploring asteroid didymus and satellites
Then begins the second part of the mission, which is taken from the NASA probe Dart. In October 2022 ESA probe will initially increase its distance from Didymus, so that they can observe from a safe distance what happens then. DART – Double Asteroid Redirection Test – is with its 300 kg heavy probe with nearly 22,000 km / h bounce Didymoon and give him a small but hopefully measurable thrust, so that the moon changes its direction and speed.
The ESA probe will analyze the ejected material on impact, examine the crater emerged and eventually pursue, whether there have been changes in Didymoons Orbit.
Aida will bring valuable experience for future Mars missions
The AIDA mission has several objectives. On the one hand, scientists hope to insights about how much force is needed to successfully deflect an asteroid that is on a collision course with Earth, of its orbit can. Exploring Asteroid Didymus and satellites s main objective. In addition, the combined mission of NASA and ESA to provide new insights into the question of how the inner workings of an asteroid looks.
Since previous missions is already known that the geological structures of asteroids can be very different. Under the regolith, the loose rock material on the surface, there seems to be less solid rock, but rather loosely cohesive rubble or even empty spaces.
Finally, should the mission “be a special opportunity to demonstrate new technologist ESA,” said ESA scientist Michael Küppers. “With AIM we test the lander Mascot-2. This will give us valuable experience to bring in later missions to Mars, where we want to bring back samples. ”