Asteroids approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun and these space rocks can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. It is said that Earth will reach to its end one day and one of the possible reason for this could be an asteroid. No one knows what our future will be. These days a large number of asteroids are hovering all around the Earth and we might get hit too sooner or later. However, in a bid to save our planet and humans as well, NASA is stepping-up plans to deliberately crash a spaceship into an asteroid when it joins forces with the European Space Agency (ESA) next week.
According to a report published by Daily Star, scientists from NASA and ESA have planned to test whether it is possible to deflect the orbit of potentially-deadly asteroids. It is worth mentioning here that the mission will launch in 2022 and involves two spacecraft, one to smash into the space rock and the other to measure the results of the collision.
Experts will meet in Italy to fine-tune the plan. So far, it involves crashing NASA spacecraft DART — or Double Asteroid Impact Test — into the asteroid. Then ESA's Hera will survey DART's crash site and analyse the direction of the asteroid's new path, Daily Star reported.
Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May explained how the mission would be conducted using the might of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and other asteroid specialists.
“HERA is going to show us no one has ever seen before. This ESA mission will be humanities first-ever spacecraft to visit a double asteroid, Didymos. “This asteroid is typical of the thousands that pose an impact risk to our planet.” express.co.uk quoted Brian May as saying.
“Imagine a mountain in the sky with another rock about the size of the great pyramid swinging around it, that is Didymos. Just the seemingly tiny moon would be big enough to destroy a city if it were to collide with the Earth. But we are going to find out if it is possible to deflect it,” Brian May added.
He further said, “HERA is led by a multinational team of scientists and engineers. Right now all we have is many years and theories but HERA will revolutionise our understanding of asteroids and how to protect ourselves from them. Then ESA comes in, HERA will map the impact crater left by DART and measure the mass of the asteroid.”
“Knowing this mass is key to determining what is inside and knowing for certain whether we would be able to deflect it. Next come our briefcase-sized CubeSats, if you think of HERA like an aeroplane, cubists will operate more like drones,” Brian concluded.
According to a report published by spacetelescope.org, there are more than 7 lakh asteroids that have been found in space. Asteroids are mainly found in an area called the ‘main belt’, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.