Hera would be the first-ever spacecraft to visit a double asteroid. The asteroid system - named Didymos - is typical of the thousands that pose an impact risk to our planet, and even the smaller of the two would be big enough to destroy an entire city if it were to collide with Earth. Hera will help ESA to find out if it would be possible to deflect such an asteroid. The mission will revolutionise our understanding of asteroids and how to protect ourselves from them.
This set of 3D renderings were created as part of the video Hera: ESA's planetary defence mission, in which astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May tells the story of this ambitious proposed ESA mission.
Hera will be presented at ESA's Space19+ meeting this November, where Europe's space ministers will take a final decision on flying the mission, as part of the Agency's broader planetary defence initiatives that aim to protect European and global citizens.
See the full video here