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The "Independent Driving" spacecraft can help save Earth from the deadly blows of asteroids



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/ Source: Space.com

By Hanneke Weitering,

The next asteroid mission in Europe, which can be launched in 2023, will rely on the same navigation technology as the car.

Named "Hera" after the Greek goddess of marriage. The mission will visit the 65803 Didymos asteroid 2550 feet long (780 meters) and its tiny satellite, 525 feet (1

60 meters), which unofficially received the nickname "Didymoon"

. The Earth will have an auto navigation system built into Hera to send a navigation command. This will allow Gary to manage himself in real time, rather than wait a few minutes to get a command signal from the Earth.

Connected: The Greatest Asteroid Meetings All Time!

"If you think that self-driving is a future Earth, then Hera is a pioneer of autonomy in deep space," says Paolo Martino, a leading system engineer for Hera. With an autonomous navigation system, the spacecraft will fly closer to Didymos , as well as to Didymoon, which will allow it to make better images with high resolution of their surfaces, the statement said the officials of the European Space Agency (ESA). The self-propelled vehicle, the spacecraft "Hera" will rely on data from sensors, kame and lasers "to create a coherent model of the environment," said Josh Gil Fernandez, ESA's navigation and management engineer in a statement.

Hera will not rely entirely on his autopilot for this first mission. The mission is still being developed to operate. from the ground and she will not begin testing the new system until all of the main mission objectives are completed, Fernandez said.

The Hera is part of a greater assessment of the impact and deviation of the asteroids. (AIDA) mission, which also includes a NASA spacecraft that goes to the same asteroid system. NASA's Dual Asteroid Referral Mission (DART) aims to break the spacecraft into the asteroid surface, and the spacecraft will bring two small cubes to explore the surface of the asteroid

. is to rotate an asteroid and observe a collision from a safe distance before going down to examine the impact of the crater intact. The purpose of the mission is to demonstrate a planetary defense strategy known as the asteroid deviation. In other words, scientists want to understand whether Earth can be saved from a potentially catastrophic asteroid strike by launching a spacecraft on an asteroid to knock it off the course

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com follow her @hannekescience . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook .

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