AIDA (mission)

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Asteroid impact avoidance Methods to prevent destructive asteroid hits

Asteroid impact avoidance comprises the methods by which near-Earth objects (NEO) on a potential collision course with Earth could be diverted away, preventing destructive impact events. An impact by a sufficiently large asteroid or other NEOs would cause, depending on its impact location, massive tsunamis or multiple firestorms, and an impact winter caused by the sunlight-blocking effect of large quantities of pulverized rock dust and other debris placed into the stratosphere.

Lander (spacecraft) Type of spacecraft

A lander is a spacecraft that descends towards, comes to rest on, the surface of an astronomical body. In contrast to an impact probe, which makes a hard landing that damages or destroys the probe upon reaching the surface, a lander makes a soft landing after which the probe remains functional.

B612 Foundation

The B612 Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation headquartered in Mill Valley, California, United States, dedicated to planetary science and planetary defense against asteroids and other near-Earth object (NEO) impacts. It is led mainly by scientists, former astronauts and engineers from the Institute for Advanced Study, Southwest Research Institute, Stanford University, NASA and the space industry.

Discovery Program Ongoing solar system exploration program by NASA

The Discovery Program is a series of solar system exploration missions funded by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through its Planetary Missions Program Office. The cost of each mission is capped at a lower level than missions from NASA's New Frontiers or Flagship Programs. As a result, Discovery missions tend to be more focused on a specific scientific goal rather than serving a general purpose.

Don Quijote is a past space probe concept that has been studied by the European Space Agency, and which would investigate the effects of crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid to test whether a spacecraft could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The orbiter was designed to last for seven years. The mission did not proceed beyond initial studies, currently ESA is working on Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment mission as a part of its NEO space mission studies.

65803 Didymos Asteroid

65803 Didymos is a sub-kilometer asteroid and synchronous binary system that is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid and near-Earth object of both the Apollo and Amor group. The asteroid was discovered in 1996 by the Spacewatch survey at Kitt Peak, and its small 160-metre minor-planet moon, named Dimorphos, was discovered in 2003. Due to its binary nature, the asteroid was then named Didymos, the Greek word for 'twin'.

3361 Orpheus is an Apollo asteroid that was discovered on 24 April 1982 by Carlos Torres at Cerro El Roble Astronomical Station. Its eccentric orbit crosses that of Mars and Earth, and approaches Venus as well. From 1900 to 2100 it passes closer than 30 Gm to Venus 11, Earth 33, and Mars 14 times. It passed by Earth at a distance of about 0.03 AU in 1937, 1978, 1982, and 2021 and will again in 2025.

Strictly speaking, a satellite collision is when two satellites collide while in orbit around a third, much larger body, such as a planet or moon. This definition can be loosely extended to include collisions between sub-orbital or escape-velocity objects with an object in orbit. Prime examples are the anti-satellite weapon tests.

Mars Cube One Mars flyby mission

Mars Cube One was a Mars flyby mission launched on 5 May 2018 alongside NASA's InSight Mars lander mission. It consisted of two nanospacecraft, MarCO-A and MarCO-B, that provided a real-time communications link to Earth for InSight during its entry, descent, and landing (EDL) on 26 November 2018 - when InSight was out of line of sight from the Earth. Both spacecraft were 6U CubeSats, and the mission was a test of new miniaturized communications and navigation technologies. These were the first CubeSats to operate beyond Earth orbit, and aside from telecommunications they also tested CubeSats' endurance in deep space. On 5 February 2019, NASA reported that both the CubeSats had gone silent by 5 January 2019, and are unlikely to be heard from again. In August 2019, the CubeSats were honored for their role in the successful landing of the InSight lander on Mars.

ArgoMoon is a nanosatellite that will fly on NASA's Artemis 1 mission into a heliocentric orbit in cislunar space on the maiden flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft, in 2022. The satellite has the dimensions of a shoe box ; in CubeSat terms, it is a 6U.

Double Asteroid Redirection Test First mission in the Solar System Exploration program; the impact of Dimorphos

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a NASA space mission aimed at testing a method of planetary defense against near-Earth objects (NEOs). In September 2022, a space probe is set to deliberately crash into the minor-planet moon Dimorphos of the double asteroid Didymos to assess the future potential of a spacecraft impact to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth through a transference of momentum.

Deliberate crash landings on extraterrestrial bodies

These are tables of space probes which have been deliberately destroyed at their objects of study, typically by hard landings or crash landings at the end of their respective missions and/or functionality. This endeavor not only precludes the hazards of orbital space debris and planetary contamination, but also provides the opportunity in some cases for terminal science given that the transient light released by the kinetic energy may be available for spectroscopy; the physical ejecta remains in place for further study. Even after soft landings had been mastered, NASA used crash landings to test whether Moon craters contained ice by crashing space probes into craters and testing the debris that got thrown out.

Planetary Missions Program Office Division of NASA responsible for the Discovery, New Frontiers, and Solar System Exploration programs

The Planetary Missions Program Office is a division of NASA headquartered at the Marshall Space Flight Center, formed by the agency's Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Succeeding the Discovery and New Frontiers Program Office, it was established in 2014 to manage the Discovery and New Frontiers programs of low and medium-cost missions by third-party institutions, and the Solar System Exploration program of NASA-led missions that focus on prioritized planetary science objectives. The Discovery and New Frontiers programs were established in 1992 and 2001 respectively, and have launched fourteen primary missions together, along with two missions launched under the administration of the Planetary Missions Program Office. The Solar System Exploration Program was established alongside the office, with three missions planned for launch under the new program.

Dimorphos Asteroid satellite

Dimorphos is a small asteroid satellite that was discovered in 2003. It is the minor-planet moon of a synchronous binary system with 65803 Didymos as the primary asteroid. After being provisionally designated as S/2003 (65803) 1 with informal nicknames such as "Didymos B" and "Didymoon", the Working Group Small Body Nomenclature (WGSBN) of the International Astronomical Union gave the satellite its official name on 23 June 2020. At a diameter of 170 metres (560 ft), it is one of the smallest astronomical objects that has been given a permanent name.

LICIACube ASI CubeSat aboard DART spacecraft

Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) is a 6-unit CubeSat made by Italian Space Agency (ASI). LICIACube is a part of Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission and is built to carry out observational analysis of the Didymos asteroid binary system after DART's impact. It will communicate directly with Earth, sending back images of the ejecta and plume of DART's impact as well as do asteroidal study during its flyby of the Didymos system, 3 days after the Dart's impact. LICIACube is the first purely Italian autonomous spacecraft in deep space, also for the ground segment (GS), with data archiving and processing managed by the Space Science Data Center (SSDC) of ASI.


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Mission typeDual asteroid probes
Operator European Space Agency / NASA
Website AIDA study
Start of mission
Launch dateHera: 2024 (planned)
DART: 24 November 2021, 06:21:02 UTC [1]
(65803) Didymos [3] orbiter
Spacecraft componentHera, Milani, Juventas
Orbital insertionJanuary 2027 [4]