Romania will participate in the Hera Mission, which aims to observe what happened following the impact between the NASA DART component of the AIDA international mission and the asteroid from the Didymos binary system, the Romanian Space Agency announced on Tuesday, according to Agerpres.
On Tuesday at 2:14 am, Romanian time, the NASA DART component of the AIDA international mission intentionally collided with the smallest asteroid in the Didymos binary system. ESA will later send the HERA mission to the two asteroids to observe in detail what happened after the impact. Romania also participates in the Hera Mission.
65803 Didymos consists of the main asteroid and its satellite, Dimorphos. 65803 Didymos is the target of the international AIDA (Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment) mission, with its two components: the American DART component that collided with the asteroid and the European HERA component that will observe the asteroid in detail. The Hera mission will measure the mass of the asteroid, its composition, analyze the crater caused by the collision and help to better understand asteroids.
„In today’s test, a 570-kilogram spacecraft autonomously drove up to a target asteroid, deliberately bumping into it at about 22,530 km/s to slow its orbital velocity ever so slightly. The researchers expect that the impact will shorten the orbit of Dimorphos by approximately 1%, i.e. approximately 10 minutes,” according to a press release of the Romanian Space Agency.
The European mission HERA, which will be launched in 2024, will begin its journey to Dimorphos to carry out a detailed study after the impact. Very important data such as the size of the crater, the mass of Dimorphos, its composition and internal structure are to be collected. This new information will transform the DART experiment into a very well understood, repeatable technique that could be applied at a given moment in a situation that is no longer a test, the release states.
Romania will provide some essential elements in the success of the European component.
Romanian expertise will help HERA reach the asteroid and measure its deviation very precisely following the impact with DART.
Also, our country will support one of the first two ESA deepspace cubesats to approach the asteroid.