AIDA mission rationale

The on hand report is the mission rational for the joint AIDA study conducted by ESA, JHU/APL, NASA, OCA and DLR.
→ Download pdf document here (interim release)

Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission

The asteroid impact risk is low but the potential consequences to our society can be very severe. Small bodies are continually colliding with the Earth, however, the vast majority of these objects are very small and pose no threat to human activity. Larger impact are more rare but, when they occur, can lead to a major natural catastrophe.

In the US positive developments have recently taken place. On one hand, the increased public and political attention to asteroids as a test-bed for Human Exploration (National Space Policy, 2010), the call of the US National Research Council Report for developments in asteroid demonstration missions and in particular kinetic impact tests (NRC Committee, 2010); and, finally, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) (Cheng, 2012); mission definition work initiated at John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and supported by several NASA centres, by the Observatoire Cote d’Azur (OCA) in France and the DLR in Germany.

In this context, ESA’s Future Preparation and Strategic Studies Office has carried out the Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) study, which had the objective of defining an affordable and fully independent mission element that ESA could contribute to a joint asteroid impact test characterisation campaign. In parallel, the Office has commissioned, jointly with the international partners, a dedicated analysis of the interest of these projects that when combined had been dubbed Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA). The study was conducted in collaboration between ESA, JHU/APL, NASA, OCA and DLR. In this assessment, experts on different aspect of the impact dynamics and planetary research community (listed below) under the coordination of the OCA have been requested to analyse the potential interest of the combined operation of the DART and AIM missions to carry out a complete impact experiment and characterisation test.

Last update: 25 May 2012

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