31/03/2015 1:29 pm
ESA – ScienceOffice.org
Launched in October 2020, AIM will travel to a binary asteroid system – the paired Didymos asteroids, which will come a comparatively close 11 million km to Earth in 2022. The 800 m-diameter main body is orbited by a 170 m moon, informally called ‘Didymoon’. This smaller body is AIM’s focus: the spacecraft will perform high-resolution visual, thermal and radar mapping of the moon to build detailed maps of its surface and interior structure, as well as putting down a lander and deploying CubeSats. Then, in late 2022. Didymoon will be hit by NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). AIM will then survey the changes to the asteroid and its orbit from the impact. The two missions together are known as the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission.
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