Asteroids have come to Earth on many occasions. Researchers all over the world have been using space technology for risk assessment for almost two decades. Several strategies have been proposed for risk mitigation should an asteroid ever be headed our way. The kinetic impactor has been recommended by the international community as the most effective technique, which should be validated in space. This is the main objective of the international Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA).
AIDA consists of two independent but mutually supporting mission concepts, DART and AIM:
- DART is NASA's impact spacecraft – the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)
- AIM is the ESA observation spacecraft – the Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM)
- AIDA = DART + AIM
DART is directed by NASA and undertaken by a team led by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory with support from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
DART will be the first ever space mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor on a binary asteroid target: the smaller asteroid of Didymos, called Didymoon. The new DART website has been released today and can be accessed here: http://dart.jhuapl.edu