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Space & Astronomy

Scientists to trial asteroid redirect mission

September 30, 2015 | Comment icon 12 comments



Can a spacecraft successfully redirect an asteroid ? Image Credit: NASA / JPL
The new mission will attempt a potentially world-saving maneuver by redirecting an asteroid's trajectory.
The idea of preventing an apocalyptic asteroid impact by redirecting the object while it is still out in space has been the subject of science fiction movies and TV shows for years, but now thanks to a new international mission we could soon be seeing this concept being put in to action in real-life.

Known as the 'Asteroid Deflection & Assessment' (Aida) mission, the ambitious project will involve two spacecraft - one to smash in to the target asteroid and the other to record what happens.

While the egg-shaped space rock being deflected is only going to be 160m across, the mission does represent a stepping stone towards a solution that could one day save the entire human race.
The mission will launch in 2020 with both spacecraft arriving at their target two years later.

"To protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts, we need to understand asteroids much better - what they are made of, their structure, origins and how they respond to collisions," said Dr Patrick Michel who is heading up the European half of the mission.

"Aida will be the first mission to study an asteroid binary system, as well as the first to test whether we can deflect an asteroid through an impact with a spacecraft."

Source: BT.com | Comments (12)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by bmk1245 7 years ago
is a probe really going to change a 160 meter hunk of rocks trajectory at all? what we really need is bruce willis and ben affleck and a giant nuclear warhead. Slightest orbit alterations can make huge difference when we are talking about distances of millions of miles...
Comment icon #4 Posted by Iron_Lotus 7 years ago
Slightest orbit alterations can make huge difference when we are talking about distances of millions of miles... REALLY!? wow! im well aware of that and thats not really what i asked anyways. now wheres bruce willis and ben affleck at?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Taun 7 years ago
And very attractive female astronauts in very tight space suits. It kept Earth safe in the 1970's, I don't see why it wouldn't now...
Comment icon #6 Posted by bmk1245 7 years ago
REALLY!? wow! im well aware of that and thats not really what i asked anyways. [...] Ah, crap... My bad...
Comment icon #7 Posted by Iron_Lotus 7 years ago
Ah, crap... My bad... don't mention it, my question was more along the lines of me wondering if a probe could even affect an asteroid trajectory something that size with that kind of mass and traveling at the speeds it does if you were to smash a probe into it i just have a funny feeling its going to plow right through it like a pop can and keep going about its merry way. now i know if it were to even shift it a fraction of a fraction of a inch it would change big time as it continues moving. i also realize that you never know until you try so obviously if the probe hit and nothing happens its... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by theotherguy 7 years ago
Let's hope they don't mess up and send Didymoon hurtling straight toward the Earth. It wouldn't make a big impact, but I worry that the Nibiruists will have a field day with it.
Comment icon #9 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
Ah, the one they want to hit is the "moon". Didymos is the larger 800m wide asteroid, and "Didymoon" is the smaller one of the binary. If the asteroid is egg shaped and 160 meters long, and 120 meters wide. And roughly is 1.7 g/cm^3 (1700 kg/m^3) in density. Then it will have a volume of about 10 million cubic meters, and weight about 16 billion kg, or about 18 million US tons. And then the spacecraft is going to be, what, about 200 kg max? So that is a ratio of 80 million to one. So as long as we hit an asteroid far enough away, it should move a couple millionths toward the side. Also depends... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Iron_Lotus 7 years ago
Ah, the one they want to hit is the "moon". Didymos is the larger 800m wide asteroid, and "Didymoon" is the smaller one of the binary. If the asteroid is egg shaped and 160 meters long, and 120 meters wide. And roughly is 1.7 g/cm^3 (1700 kg/m^3) in density. Then it will have a volume of about 10 million cubic meters, and weight about 16 billion kg, or about 18 million US tons. And then the spacecraft is going to be, what, about 200 kg max? So that is a ratio of 80 million to one. So as long as we hit an asteroid far enough away, it should move a couple millionths toward the side. Also depends... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
REALLY!? wow! im well aware of that and thats not really what i asked anyways. now wheres bruce willis and ben affleck at? Bruce is off somewhere. Ben is playing Batman right now with Superman. Maybe Supes can save the day!
Comment icon #12 Posted by Iron_Lotus 7 years ago
Bruce is off somewhere. Ben is playing Batman right now with Superman. Maybe Supes can save the day! well based off supes last movie he would have no problem pulverizing the asteroid into dust


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