ESA Allocates €129M to Protect Earth from Asteroids
The European Space Agency (ESA) signed an agreement worth € 129.4 million with an industrial consortium led by German satellite company OHB to build the HERA spacecraft designed to protect the Earth from threatening asteroids, Space News reported.
As part of the deal, OHB will spearhead the development of a group of companies from 17 ESA member countries in preparation for the October 2024 launch of HERA.
It is part of NASA’s DART probe mission, which is expected to be launched to the binary asteroid Didymos and Dimorphos in October 2021.
The American probe will have to crash into the smallest of the two asteroids, Dimorphos, in order to try to move it from its impact path with the Earth to a safer path. The collision is scheduled for September 2022.
The HERA spacecraft will fly up to the asteroid in 2026. Over the course of six months, including with the help of his CubeSate satellites, it will have to evaluate the result of the impact on the asteroid and its displacement from orbit.
The asteroid Dimorphos with a diameter of about 160 meters is capable of destroying an entire city in the event of a collision with the Earth.