The European Space Agency (ESA) has provided 129.4 million euros to the planetary defense mission Hera, which will observe the results of the first human attempt to deliberately alter the orbit of an asteroid in the solar system. < / P > < p > about 66 million years ago, the ancient earth was hit by a huge asteroid, which produced a crater about 180 kilometers in diameter, which is now hidden under the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The impact is believed to have triggered the mass extinction of dinosaurs, or at least contributed to the mass extinction of dinosaurs, thus fundamentally changing the evolutionary path of life on earth. The threat of asteroid impact is very real and inevitable. Fortunately, scientists hope to avoid a global disaster similar to the elimination of dinosaurs through the rapid development of space programs. ESA’s upcoming & quot; Hera & quot; spacecraft represents half of the international effort for an asteroid impact and deflection assessment mission. Aida’s main goal is to study the feasibility of deflecting potentially dangerous asteroids from the earth by altering their orbital characteristics. < / P > < p > the goal of this international mission is a double asteroid system called Didymos, which is composed of a 780 meter diameter main star, which is jokingly called didymain. It has a 160 meter diameter & quot; small satellite, called dimorphos, or informally didimoon. In July 2021, NASA’s dart spacecraft will be the first of two large probes to be launched as part of Aida efforts. In September 2022, after reaching orbit and observing the didimoon pair, dart will be guided into the smaller of the two asteroids. The impact should create a 20 meter diameter crater on didymoon’s surface and alter the asteroid’s orbital velocity and path. The ESA Hera spacecraft is being designed to observe the consequences of this space experiment. The new contract of 129.4 million euros will cover the design, manufacture and testing of the Hera mission. < / P > < p > < p > “Hera” will be accompanied by a pair of cubic satellites on an epic journey to explore the double asteroid system. The design of juventas CubeSat is to deploy a larger antenna than its main body and to conduct the first underground radar detection of a near Earth Asteroid. The radar system was first developed by the Rosetta spacecraft during its exploration of comet 67p / churyumov – gerasimenko. At the same time, the second cube satellite, named apex, will study the composition of the double asteroid system. < / P > < p > a total of 17 European countries will participate in the construction of the Hera, each responsible for a different and interrelated aspect of detector development, from reaction wheel design to power and propulsion system manufacturing. < / P > < p > the spacecraft will carry a set of advanced scientific equipment, including a small lidar system, a thermal infrared instrument and an asteroid freeze frame camera (AFC) equipped with telescopes and filters to reveal the physical characteristics of the didimoon surface. The AFC chosen for the mission was the same design as the camera installed on NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which successfully returned stunning images of the dwarf planet Ceres. < / P > < p > scientists are currently developing new technologies for the mission, including a system that allows the spacecraft to navigate autonomously in unpredictable near star environments. < / P > < p > the 870 kg probe is currently scheduled for launch in September 2022 and, if all goes according to plan, will arrive in orbit around its target asteroid in December 2026. When combined, Hera will hand paint the surfaces of didimoon and its larger partner didimain. < / P > < p > the area around the dart crater will be imaged at a resolution of 10 cm. The data collected by Hera on the shape of the crater and the surface characteristics and internal structure of asteroids are crucial for scientists to verify the models needed to plan future asteroid deflection missions. < / P > < p > however, the most important data collected by the & quot; Hera & quot; may be the measurement of the didimoon mass. This information is crucial for scientists who want to establish an accurate model of the impact event with a high degree of certainty. Global Tech

By ibmwl