NASA and ESA team up for planetary defense mission

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NASA and the European Space Agency plan to stage a planetary defense mission called the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment, or AIDA, collaboration, beginning in 2021.

The mission will hit and study the Didymos pair, a near-Earth asteroid orbited by a smaller moon called Dimorphos.

The binary system is not on a collision course with Earth. Instead, it is being targeted to provide a baseline for planning planetary defence strategies if a real threat were to occur, including how much force is needed to shift the orbit of an incoming asteroid.

NASA's component of the mission is an asteroid impactor called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, which will launch in a window opening on July 22, 2021. It will reach the Didymos system in late September of 2022.

The ESA's component of the mission, called Hera, is scheduled to fly by Didymos in 2026 for followup observations.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. NASA's DART mission leaving Earth
2. Didymos binary pair of Didymos and Dimorphos
3. Trajectory of DART spacecraft from Earth to Dimorphos
4. DART flies into Dimorphos
5. ESA's Hera spacecraft conducts followup observations
6. Hera deploys two CubeSats to conduct closure observations, one of which will land on Dimorphos for surface operations

VOICEOVER (in English):

"NASA and the European Space Agency plan to stage a planetary defense mission called the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment, or AIDA, collaboration, beginning in 2021."

"The mission will hit and study the Didymos pair, a near-Earth asteroid orbited by a smaller moon called Dimorphos."

"The larger asteroid is about 780 meters, or 0.48 miles, in diameter. The smaller body is 163 meters in diameter, or 535 feet, about the size of the Great Pyramid."

"The binary system is not on a collision course with Earth. Instead, it is being targeted to provide a baseline for planning planetary defence strategies if a real threat were to occur, including how much force is needed to shift the orbit of an incoming asteroid."

"NASA's component of the mission is an asteroid impactor called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART. The refrigerator-sized spacecraft will launch in a window opening on July 22, 2021. It will reach the Didymos system in late September of 2022."

"After taking images during its approach, DART will fly into Dimorphos at approximately 6.58 kilometers per second in late September or early October 2022."

"The impact will be recorded in space by a companion CubeSat provided by the Italian Space Agency that will be deployed from DART."

"Astronomers will compare observations from Earth-based telescopes to measure the resulting change in the orbit of Dimorphos induced by the impact."

"The European Space Agency's component of the mission, called Hera, is planned to fly by Didymos in 2026 for followup observations."

"The desk-sized spacecraft will map the impact crafter left by DART and measure the mass of Dimorphos."

"It will then deploy to briefcase-sized CubeSats that will fly closer to Dimorphos to conduct further scans. One of these will land on the asteroid for several days of surface operations."

SOURCES: NASA, ESA
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=DART
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasas-first-planetary-defense-mission-target-gets-a-new-name
https://www.esa.int/Safety_Security/Hera/Asteroid_Impact_Deflection_Assessment_AIDA_collaboration
https://www.esa.int/Safety_Security/Hera/Deep_space_CubeSats