An international team of scientists plans to test a working asteroid deflection system in hopes of averting a devastating collision with a killer near-Earth asteroid—and they’re asking for your help.
The two-part mission will use separate spacecraft to intercept a binary asteroid. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) craft collides with the smaller of the two asteroids, while the Asteroid Impact Monitor (AIM) surveys the asteroids before and after impact. If the collision changes the relative spin of the asteroid (thus potentially altering its direction and trajectory), the AIM will detect that and relay the information back to Earth.
On Feb. 1, the ESA will release a Call for Experiment Ideas, asking for input on ground or space-based experiments, tests and payload ideas from different domains “including hypervelocity impact and collisional physics, planetary defense, planetary science, human exploration and spacecraft operations related to the goals of the AIDA concept,” according to the group’s website. You can learn more here and here.
Source: European Space Agency