Wanted: Asteroid-Smashing Ideas for European Spacecraft

Wanted Asteroid-Smashing Ideas for European Spacecraft
Wanted Asteroid-Smashing Ideas for European Spacecraft
Wanted Asteroid-Smashing Ideas for European Spacecraft
Wanted Asteroid-Smashing Ideas for European Spacecraft

European space officials are seeking ideas to help develop a mission to knock an asteroid off its course, in case one day humans must pull off such a stunt to save Earth from a catastrophic space-rock collision.

The idea behind the joint US-European mission, dubbed AIDA (for Asteroid Impact & DeflectionAssessment),is to send two small spacecraft to intercept a binary asteroid called Didymos, which is projected to travel past Earth in 2022. This space rock system is actually a pair of asteroids, one smaller, one larger, that orbit each other as they zoom around the sun.

One 660-pound (300 kilograms) spacecraft, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) craft developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, would smash into the