AIDA: Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment study
In a previous posting there was an article about a ESA (European Space Agency) mission that circled and landed on an asteroid. That was an amazing feat of precision. The ESA is now involved in a similar mission, but with a different purpose - planetary defense. Asteroids and/or meteors hitting the earth have been credited with the extinction of the dinosaurs and their potential for massive destruction has been a concern. What can we do about a potential space intruder? The ESA is involved in a mission to "push" an actual asteroid of off it's path to see if this is a feasible way to protect Earth.
The Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) study examines ways to potentially deflect asteroids from trajectories that could lead to them impacting Earth. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory would work with NASA and ESA on the mission, which includes two independent spacecraft: an impactor (to be built by APL for NASA) and an impact monitor (to be built by ESA).
The target of this mission is the binary asteroid system Didymos. The impactor would strike the smaller secondary of Didymos, while the monitor would observe and measure any change in the relative orbit.