NASA asteroid warning: Space rocks to cause ‘severe damage over of thousands of square km’ – Express.co.uk
The two space agencies are preparing to discover if it is possible to nudge a rogue asteroid from its deadly trajectory. The world’s first planetary defence operation hopes to study the effect of colliding with a small “Didymoon” space rock orbiting the Didymos A asteroid.
The joint Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission consists of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DAR) spacecraft, which will slam into the space space rock and ESA’s HERA mission which will proceed to study the impact.
Near-Earth asteroids will either strike the Earth’s surface or explode in a fire all at low altitude, in both cases causing severe damage over regions of thousands of square kilometres or more
Open letter signed by 1,200 scientists
However, the mission is dependent on agreement by politicians meeting in Seville later this month to decide which projects will be funded in the coming years.
Because of the uncertainty, 1,200 scientists, including the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees, have written to ministers warning of the danger of failing to fund the asteroid mission.
They wrote: “As citizens of our Solar System, we need to expand our body of knowledge of the Universe in which we live and how we can protect our planet from hazards originating in space.