Hera is a candidate ESA mission that will be humankind’s first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system, Didymos. Hera will be accompanied by two briefcase-sized CubeSats, which will gather additional data on Didymoon and its surroundings while testing new intersatellite link technology for future mission architectures, based on distributed systems.
One of these CubeSats is called Juventas. Developed by Danish company GomSpace and GMV in Romania, Juventas will measure the gravity field, as well as the internal structure, of the smaller of the two Didymos asteroids. In close orbit around Didymoon, Juventas will line up with Hera to perform satellite-to-satellite radio-science experiments and carry out a low-frequency radar survey of the asteroid to unveil its interior.
At the end of its month-long mission, Juventas will also measure the forces involved in its concluding landing on the smaller of the two asteroids.
This image is taken from the video Hera: ESA’s Planetary Defence Mission.