If movie masterpieces like 'Armageddon' and 'Deep Impact' have taught us anything, it is that asteroids are little more than pieces of lethal space shrapnel, waiting to only enter our atmosphere and vaporize all life on this planet. It's perhaps (but probably not) with this in mind that the European Space Agency (ESA) is beginning to experiment with a two-piece spacecraft to collect and observe results of a hyper-velocity collision.
The mission is interesting because scientists don't really know what will happen with the collision at speeds of 6.25 km/sec, a speed that will cause matter to vaporize instead of break apart like usual. The asteroid in the cross-hairs, 65803 Didymos, should yield interesting results as it has a smaller satellite mass orbiting it. The mission would have one half of the spaceship colliding with the smaller mass while the other half stays back and measures the results of the space collision. The mission is tentatively scheduled for 2022.
No word on whether Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis are available for some real life asteroid smashing.
ESA to Begin Conducting Experiments for Controlled Asteroid Collision
1. Controlled Asteroid Collision - Opportunity for developing new methods for controlling and observing asteroid collisions at high speeds.
2. Hyper-velocity Impact - Potential for studying the behavior of matter vaporization when subjected to hyper-velocity impact.
3. Satellite Measurement - Exploring the use of satellites to measure and observe the results of space collisions.
1. Space Exploration - Space agencies and companies could capitalize on the opportunity to develop new technologies and techniques for asteroid collisions.
2. Aerospace Engineering - Opportunity for aerospace engineers to design and build spacecraft capable of withstanding high-speed collisions and measuring the results.
3. Scientific Research - Scientific researchers can take advantage of this opportunity to gather data and insights on the behavior of matter during hyper-velocity impacts.