We plan to shoot down an asteroid to see what this leads to.

We plan to shoot down an asteroid to see what this leads to.

To understand how to deflect an asteroid from a given course, there is no better way than to just blow it up and see what happens.

This may sound like a sci-fi movie with an oil drillers team, but this is a scientific fact. Europe has set about planning a mission to repel a small asteroid target that NASA will attempt to remove from a speeding spacecraft without using nuclear weapons.

Yes, it will truly be the mother of all asteroid missions, which will take place in an atmosphere of cooperation of international space agencies, united to solve the global threat facing them.

At the first stage of a joint mission to strike an asteroid and its rejection strategy, the European Space Agency planned to launch the operation in October 2020.

The purpose of the mission will be a binary asteroid Didymos, which consists of a main 800-meter piece of space fragment and a smaller piece, whose width is 170 meters. The smaller asteroid has the informal name Didymoon. It was NASA, in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), who was interested in destroying it.

We plan to shoot down an asteroid to see what this leads to.

After the mission is launched at Didymoon, it will perform an impressive array of cartographic and geodetic tasks using small Cubesat satellites that will be launched from the main satellites to collect data on the approach from the asteroid. In addition, ESA hopes to land a small landing module on Didymoon as the completion of the work. During the operation, a high-bandwidth laser communication system, Optical Ground Station, located on Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands (off the coast of Morocco) will be used to transmit data throughout the entire period of creating high-resolution optical and thermal maps. This scientific mission carried out on steroids will be a prelude to the subsequent NASA mission to change course or destroy a double asteroid. Planned date of impact on Didymos - 2022. The double asteroid redirection test (TPDA) will be rooted to 6 km / s - almost 14,000 miles per hour - and it will hit the smaller Didymoon. The whole world will watch what happens next.

Yann Carnelli, the Mission Manager, stated: “As a result of the shot, we will compare the structure of the body itself and the field of the shot, as well as study the impact of the impact on the asteroid orbit, which will give us detailed information about the kinetic impact itself and its consequences.” He also noted that the results will allow the creation of laboratory models in miniature in order to fully understand how the asteroid will react to this kind of energy. This will shed light on the role of particle emission in the process of energy transfer and end scientific discussions that have been going on for more than two decades.

We plan to shoot down an asteroid to see what this leads to.

This will be an unprecedented event in the history of mankind. We will take a vehicle and purposefully break it against a celestial body, just to see how it reacts to the impact. Measurable impact results will be used to prepare humanity to meet with a real possibility of colliding with an asteroid, which can cause regional or even global damage. Understanding how an asteroid will react to getting into it is important if we want to work towards changing the course of dangerous space stones in the future. Will they disintegrate under the impact of a blow? Are they hard? Is there a need to further use nuclear warheads? In short, while we can not be completely sure.

In 2005, NASA already had experience hitting the nucleus of comet Tempel 1. However, this attempt was not aimed only at studying the effect of the release of kinetic energy, and not at changing the course of the object. Didymoon, however, is several dozen times less than Tempel 1, so the consequences of the strike will be small, but they can have a significant impact on the trajectory of the asteroid.

The binary asteroid Didymos will pass at a distance of 11 million kilometers from Earth in 2022. This distance is almost 30 times the Earth-Moon distance. So, this mission is not dangerous for our planet.

An interesting fact is that Didymoon is almost three times larger than the estimated size of a fallen Tungussky meteorite, which leveled 80 million trees on an area of ​​2,150 square kilometers (830 square miles) in the Siberian region in 1908. If an asteroid of size Didymoon hits the Earth, it can hit a large metropolis. After it there will be a crater 2, 5 km wide. In today's comparison, the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013 was 20 m wide, which is almost 9 times smaller than Didymoon. The joint mission of NASA and the European Space Agency will be discussed this month as part of the International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Conference on Defense, while monitoring the ESRIN center in Frascati, Italy.

In the future, these actions may give Earth a chance to escape a bad day. We planned a daring mission to figure out how to deal with an asteroid before it falls on all of us.

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