The European Space Agency (ESA) is involved in a project that aims to protect Earth from any wandering asteroids that could endanger life on Earth. SciTechDaily reports.
ESA has awarded a $ 153.4 million contract for the detailed design, production and testing of Hera, the Agency’s first planetary protection mission. This ambitious mission will be Europe’s contribution to the international asteroid bouncing project.
The Hera mission, named after the Greek goddess of hearth and home, together with NASA’s Dual Asteroid Redirection (DART) spacecraft, will be the first probe to encounter the binary asteroid system, an under-explored class of these space objects, accounting for about 15% of all known asteroids. …
The contract was signed by Franco Ongaro, ESA’s director of technology and engineering, and Marco Fuchs, CEO of the German space company OHB, the general contractor for the Hera consortium. The signing took place at the ESA ESOC in Germany, which will serve as the command center for the Hera mission, launched in 2024.
Hera is a European contribution to international cooperation in the field of planetary protection called Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA).
The desktop-sized Hera will showcase many new technologies as you work. For example, autonomously navigating around an asteroid-like modern self-driving cars on Earth – while collecting important scientific data to help scientists and future mission planners better understand the composition and structure of asteroids.
Hera will also deploy Europe’s first CubSats (miniature satellites built from 10cm boxes) into deep space to take close-up images of asteroids.