A recent meteorite strike in Peru highlights the practical benefits expected from ESA's Rosetta and Don Quijote missions.
A 15 September meteorite strike in Peru highlights the need to expand scientists' understanding of asteroids, meteoroids and other NEO, or Near-Earth Objects. Scientists still don't know the precise composition of asteroids, for example, making any attempt to deflect one aimed at the Earth highly problematic. ESA's Rosetta 'comet-chasing' mission, now en route to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, will be the first to undertake the long-term exploration of a comet from close quarters and includes the deployment of a landing probe. Don Quijote is a precursor mission, designed to assess and validate the technology that one day could be used to deflect an asteroid threatening the Earth.
ESApod report from ESA's European Space Operations Centre.