Asteroids are those rocky objects from the inner Solar System, which are orbiting the sun. Their collisions are known as impact events; they have played an exciting role in shaping our planet. NASA is watching around the cosmos at all times, placing the Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) as Potentially Hazardous Objects (PHO) if they show they are a threat to the Earth. Professor Alan Fitzsimmons is looking for support on a multinational space mission that could actually save our planet. He stated that there’s a possibility that there’s a space rock out there that can catch NASA off-guard.
He said: “We will get a severe asteroid impact sometime. It may not be in our lifetime, but mother nature controls when that will happen. We will need to do something about it. We’ll need to move that asteroid so it misses us and doesn’t hit us.” He talked about the Hera initiative. Hera is the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) contribution to DART – the Double Asteroid Redirection Test.
The mission will put a pair of asteroids to the rest to see if it’s possible to change the trajectory of an asteroid before it hits Earth. Fitzsimmons added that they did a lot of calculations on paper, but until they try it for real, there is no way they’d know for sure if it will work out or not. This is one of the main reasons why Hera is essential. They want to see if they can shift an asteroid, and not hit Earth, as its initial trajectory shows. “Asteroid research is one area of astronomy where amateur observes continue to make an essential contribution.” We could find help in the UK, in Europe, and Ireland, as they continuously track asteroids, and they also follow how their brightness changes in time.