PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, February 28, 2013

Asteroid Impact Mission Picks A Target

A rendering of Didymos with its moon. (European Space Agency)

A rendering of Didymos with its moon. (European Space Agency)

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have announced a plan to intercept an asteroid in 2022 and throw it off course.

The mission would slam a spacecraft into a “binary” asteroid called Didymos, which is actually two space rocks orbiting each other – one about 2,600 feet across, the other about 490 feet.

A rendering of the AIDA mission concept. (European Space Agency)

A rendering of the AIDA mission concept. (European Space Agency)

Didymos is not on a course to hit Earth, but it’s coming close enough (within 6.8 million miles) to conduct an experiment to learn more about how humanity could deflect a potentially dangerous asteroid.

The plan comes after a meteorite exploded Feb. 15 above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,200 people and damaging thousands of buildings. On the same day, an asteroid called “2012 DA14″ came historically close to planet Earth.

Plans for the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment mission, or AIDA as it’s called, have been in the works long before our recent close encounters with large celestial bodies.

It’s just one of the strategies scientists are developing to help Earth avoid a catastrophic collision with an asteroid.

Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory is providing AIDA’s collider, and the observing spacecraft will come from ESA.

Guest:

  • Kelly Beatty, senior contributing editor for Sky & Telescope magazine.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

From controversial new textbooks to a Maverick family reunion, here are stories from Jeremy Hobson's week in Houston and San Antonio.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

June 30 40 Comments

Chorus Helps Trans Men And Women Find Their Voice

The all-trans chorus was founded to help people learn to use their changing voices in a safe space.

June 30 126 Comments

Social Justice Activist: Slavery Never Ended, It Just Evolved

Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative recently launched an effort to mark where lynchings took place in the U.S.

June 29 12 Comments

First Known Plane Hijacking Was A Flight To Freedom

Nearly 60 years ago, a forced laborer in a Hungarian brick factory hatched a far-fetched plan to escape.

June 29 36 Comments

Paul Thurmond Explains His Change Of Heart On The Confederate Flag

The state senator is now among those calling for the flag to be removed from near the South Carolina State House.