How The European Space Agency’s Hera Mission Plans To Defend Earth From Asteroids

In order to investigate the asteroid, Hera will be outfitted with a propulsion module that includes fuel tanks and thrusters to carry it on its 26-month journey, as well as a core module that will carry the scientific instruments and the spacecraft’s computer (via ESA). In June 2022, the propulsion module was shipped out of Germany where it had been built to Rome, Italy, where it will have its fuel tank added.

Hera’s mission will not only be a chance to see whether humanity could protect itself from an asteroid impact, but it will also be the first time we have sent a probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system, according to the ESA. So the spacecraft will include scientific instruments for investigating the asteroids as well as to see whether the orbit of Dimorphos has shifted.

Hera’s instruments include a camera called the Asteroid Framing Camera to snap images of the asteroid, an infrared camera called the Thermal Infra Red Imager, a laser altimeter called the Planetary ALTimeter to measure the distance to the asteroid accurately, and an instrument called Hyperscot for investigating the geology of the asteroid (via Hera Mission). In addition, Hera will also deploy two small satellites called CubeSats, one named Milani for observing the surface of the asteroid and one named Juventas for taking radar sounds of the asteroid (via ESA).

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