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β˜„οΈ European Space Agency starts projects to protect the earth from asteroids

β˜„οΈ European Space Agency starts projects to protect the earth from asteroids

The Hera probe will measure how much we can change the orbit of an asteroid by crashing a space probe into the asteroid.

Kent Olofsson
Kent Olofsson

The European space agency Esa has now begun work on building a space probe, Hera , which will investigate whether we can change the orbit of an asteroid by crashing a space probe straight into the asteroid. The crash itself will be NASA's spacecraft Dart, while Hera will analyze how much the asteroid's orbit has changed.

The asteroid in question is Dimorphos, which is about the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Such a small asteroid is difficult to detect and at the same time can do enormous damage if it were to hit a densely populated area.

Dimorhphos is part of a dual system where it orbits the larger asteroid Didymos. By measuring how Dimorpho's orbit changes after the crash, the researchers will obtain important data on how a spacecraft's mass and velocity can affect an asteroid's orbit.

Hera will also launch some ten centimeter large satellites, Cubesats, further into space to investigate other asteroids. These microsatellites will, among other things, investigate what the asteroids' interior looks like, which gives us even more data on what is required to change a satellite's orbit.

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