Off World

The US and Europe are planning to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid

Pat MedinaOctober 1st 2015
The Breakthrough

In October 2020, the Asteroid Deflection & Assessment (AIDA) mission is set to launch two spacecrafts to nudge an asteroid and see if its orbital path can be derailed. The mission will be a first in the study of the asteroid binary system and the first to see if an asteroid can be deflected via impact. The test will use the 160 meter wide target asteroid to see if, in principle, a larger earth-threatening asteroid can be deflected in the same manner.

The Implications

The collision is expected to occur by May 2022. A deeper understanding of asteroids and how they respond to collisions is needed in order to know the potentially hazardous effects on Earth. If the results of this experiment prove positive, then this method could be used to protect Earth from fatal asteroid collisions in the future.

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