ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission and its twin CubeSats, with its microlander in place on the smaller of the two Didymos asteroids. ESA performs a wide variety of asteroid research, and is participating in international Asteroid Day tomorrow.
AIM is proposed for launch in 2020 to be in place around Didymos in late 2022 when the NASA DART spacecraft impacts. As well as demonstrating key deep-space technologies and studying Didymoon in unprecedented detail, the mission will be ideally placed to document the effect of the impact on the asteroid body and its orbital path. AIM and DART together form the international Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA).
Asteroid Day is an annual global movement to increase public awareness of potential asteroid impacts with Earth, and the importance of guarding against them. It is held each year on 30 June, the anniversary of the largest impact in recent history, the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia.
ESA asteroid experts will be speaking at Asteroid Day events in Barcelona, Rome, Heidelberg and Munich.
Agency specialists will also be available to field questions online at a special ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on social media platform Reddit: “We are experts of the European Space Agency working on Near Earth Objects such as asteroids, their detection and deflection and the respective activities and missions – ask us anything!”
The AMA will take place at 14:45 GMT / 16:45 CEST on reddit.com/r/IAmA (but will appear there only a few hours before it starts).
The following team will answer your questions:
Tomorrow’s Asteroid Day will also see the launch of an interactive strategy game, called ‘AIM-Space Challenge’, allowing players to learn more about the AIM mission and ESA in general, developed for the Agency by students from MediaLab Amsterdam.
ESA’s Facebook page will also be hosting a couple of Facebook Live sessions from ESA’s site in Noordwijk, the Netherlands – the technical heart of the Agency. The first, at 12:30 GMT /1430 CEST, will focus on the AIM game. The second, at 13:45 GMT / 15:45 CEST, will demonstrate how AIM would navigate around its target binary asteroid system.