The European Space Agency is appealing for ideas for a future mission to study asteroid deflection.
The concept of sending a crew on a mission to prevent a catastrophic asteroid impact has been explored in science fiction for years in movies such as 'Armageddon' and 'Deep Impact', but in reality how close are we to such a solution ? In an effort to work towards a method to save us from a possible threat from space, the European Space Agency is seeking research ideas for a joint US–European mission called AIDA that will send two probes to collide with asteroids.
It is hoped that the results will provide enough data to determine whether it would be possible for a probe to alter the course of an asteroid. Because both spacecraft will be able to operate independently, one of them will still be able to complete the mission if the other fails. "Both missions become better when put together - getting much more out of the overall investment," said mission study manager Andrés Gálvez. "And the vast amounts of data coming from the joint mission should help to validate various theories, such as our impact modelling."
A space rock several hundred metres across is heading towards our planet and the last-ditch attempt to avert a disaster – an untested mission to deflect it – fails. This fictional scene of films and novels could well be a reality one day. But what can space agencies do to ensure it works?
View: Full article | Source: ESA
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