To protect the Earth from threatening asteroids, scientists will develop a special apparatus called HERA. The corresponding agreement, the amount of which is 129.4 million euros, was signed on September 15 by ESA and an industrial consortium led by the German satellite company OHB.
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The agreement includes the design, construction and testing of HERA, which is due to launch in October 2024. It is part of NASA's DART mission, which plans to send a probe to the binary asteroid Didymos and Dimorphos. He must collide with the latter in order to change its trajectory and prevent it from falling to Earth. The space operation is scheduled for September 2022.
In 2026, the HERA spacecraft will approach the asteroid to assess the consequences of the impact and orbit shift. At the same time, there will be CubeSat satellites on board, which are capable of photographing a celestial body at a minimum distance. Dimorphos has a diameter of 160 meters. This is enough to destroy an entire city.
Earlier, the Hubble telescope took pictures of a spiral galaxy codenamed NGC 2835, the appearance of which resembles an “ominous eye”.