A mission to land on the double asteroid is all set to happen in November. Dubbed as 'mountain in the sky with another rock the size of the Great Pyramid swinging around it’, is first ever mission involving the act of a team of astronauts landing on an asteroid to destroy it. ESA said in a statement said the mission will "revolutionise our understanding of asteroids and how to protect ourselves from them”. The heart stopping mission has been called Hera.
Astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May said, “Imagine a mountain in the sky, with another rock the size of the Great Pyramid swinging around it - that’s Didymos. And just the seemingly tiny moon would be big enough to destroy a city if it were to collide with the Earth.”
“If we are going to find out if it’s possible to deflect Didymos, it is going to be really, really hard. Aiming at a 160-metre-wide target across millions of kilometres of void,” he said.
Didymos is an asteroid system composed of a large space rock that’s about 2,500 feet long with a moon of about 540 feet wide. NASA is also launching a program known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The mission involves deflecting an asteroid by crashing a spacecraft on it. DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space.
Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets. You must be aware that asteroids, if hit Earth, can bring massive destruction to our planet and also to human life. The effects of an asteroid strike—tsunamis, shock waves, and flattening winds, could be catastrophic. Asteroids can approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. In recent days, we all have heard about many asteroids including 2019 NN3, 2019 MB4, 2019 MT2, 2006 QV89, 2016 NO56M, RF12 and others going past through our planet. Although these asteroids were really close to Earth, but we were really fortunate.
According to a report of spacetelescope.org, there are more than 7 lakh asteroids that have been found in space. It further added that asteroids are mainly found in an area called the ‘main belt’, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.