A simulation of the view ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission will see as it closes in on its targeted double asteroid system to put down a microlander on the smaller of the two bodies.
A representative camera mounted on a robotic arm was moved relative to an actual rotating model of the Didymos binary asteroid system.
This ‘in-the-loop’ testing was performed at its ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, by the Agency’s Guidance, Navigation and Control section in conjunction with its Automation and Robotics section
AIM is a candidate mission of opportunity currently undergoing detailed design work, ahead of a go/no go decision at the end of this year.
With a planned launch window opening in October 2020, AIM would be humanity’s first mission to a binary asteroid system, putting down a lander on the smaller asteroid of the pair and providing detailed before-and-after mapping as part of the larger Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment mission.