If an asteroid were spotted headed towards Earth, what could humanity do about it? On 30 June, world renowned scientists, Nobel laureates, astronauts, technologists and artists join forces for Asteroid Day, a global awareness movement to spread knowledge about asteroids and ways to protect Earth from such threats. The Day is held on the anniversary of the 1908 Siberian Tunguska event, the largest asteroid to impact our planet in recent history.
To mark Asteroid Day, ESA experts on Near-Earth Objects (NEO) and asteroids have answered the public’s most insightful questions. Respondents include Ian Carnelli, AIM Project Manager, Detlef Koshny, SSA-NEO Segment Manager and Michael Kueppers, AIM Project Scientist.
If approved next year by Europe’s space ministers, 2020 will see the launch of ESA’s deep space Asteroid Impact Mission or AIM, as part of AIDA (Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment), a larger international effort to investigate planetary defence techniques. AIM will travel to a binary asteroid system – the paired Didymos asteroids, which will come a comparatively close 11 million km to Earth in 2022. After encounter and study, the mission will then witness the asteroid being struck by another spacecraft, returning data to help guide planetary defence strategies. Visit AIM for more information.