National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA and European Space Agency or ESA are collaborating together to understand how the asteroid will react when it goes head on collision with the spacecraft. This is first attempt to understand the consequences of the impact.
According to the scientists, the missions will provide an understanding and prepare them to deflect an asteroid speeding towards earth in future.
ESA is coming out with an Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment mission or AIM mission which will map the targeted asteroid before it is smashed by the NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART.
ESA is planning for the launch of AIM mission from this month and it will be launched in October 2020.
AIM will target Didymoon which is part of the binary asteroid Didymos. Didymoon is 170 meter wide asteroid and revolves around Didymos, 800 meter wide asteroid.
AIM’s aim is to map and survey Didymoon. Cubesats which will be launched from the main satellite are used for mapping and surveying. ESA is planning to land a small lander on Didymoon.
As AIM completes its mission DART will start its mission.
DART travelling at 6 kilometer per second or 14,000 miles per hour will smash into the Didymoon.
AIM will be watching closely as DART hits Didymoon,” said ESA’s Ian Carnelli, AIM mission manager. “In the aftermath, it will perform detailed before-and-after comparisons on the structure of the body itself, as well as its orbit, to characterize DART’s kinetic impact and its consequences.”
“The results will allow laboratory impact models to be calibrated on a large-scale basis, to fully understand how an asteroid would react to this kind of energy. This will shed light on the role the ejecta plume will play – a fundamental part in the energy transfer and under scientific debate for over two decades.”