This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

02 June 2012

Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) Mission Design: Joint ESA, JHU/APL, NASA, OCA and DLR Architecture

This was recently presented at the IAF/AIAA Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX). Selections from an article by ESA...

The Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission is a joint effort of ESA, JHU/APL, NASA, OCA and DLR. The mission design foresees two independent spacecraft, one impactor (DART) and one rendezvous probe (AIM). As in the separate DART and AIM studies, the target of this mission is the binary asteroid system Didymos. For a successful joint mission, one spacecraft, DART, would impact the secondary of the Didymos binary system while AIM would observe and measure any the change in the relative orbit. The AIDA rendezvous spacecraft would be under responsibility of ESA.

ESA's Future Preparation and Strategy Studies Office commissioned a preliminary assessment at the Agency’s Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) in April 2012. The study concentrates on the design of a rendezvous mission. ESA’s spacecraft would arrive before APL’s impactor spacecraft in order to characterise the binary asteroid, and have the chance to observe the impact as well as the resulting ejecta and crater. The main objectives of the AIDA orbiter are:

- Determine binary asteroid orbital and rotation state
- Analyse size, mass and shape of both binary asteroid components
- Analyse geology and surface properties

The assessment considered two concepts (DART and AIM) that have been developed as two self standing missions. Joining the two missions will bring additional value, given by addressing the following supplementary objective for the rendezvous spacecraft:

- Observe the impact crater and derive collision and impact properties

Link: ESA Article
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