Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Refine an asteroid deflection plan that will attempt to bring a little piece of Armageddon to a space rock in 2022. This is the message from the European Space Agency (ESA) when details of a joint US/Europe plan were announced last week.
The idea is simple. In 2022, a binary asteroid called Didymos will be minding its own business, gliding past Earth at a safe distance of 6.5 million miles. But the two-spacecraft Asteroid Impact and Deflection (AIDA) mission will be on an intercept course to give one of the asteroids a very bad day. The reason? To understand how we might deal with a hypothetical asteroid that’s on a collision course with Earth in the future.
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