ESA astronaut Tim Peake wishing everyone a happy Asteroid Day. After his 18 June return from the International Space Station Tim is currently recuperating at the European Astronaut Centre, but took time out to record this message.
After 17 years in orbit the ISS has sustained impacts from tiny micrometeoroids and orbital debris. Planet Earth has been in orbit a whole lot longer – around 4.5 billion years – and has sustained its fair share of dings in that time. Tim and other astronauts have taken plenty of photos of terrestrial impact craters. So asteroids have hit the Earth before, and could do again in future. So humanity needs to know more about them, and investigate what we could do to safeguard Earth if one was spotted coming towards us, through test missions like ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission – which will learn all it can about a small asteroid, then track it as NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test attempts to deflect its orbit.