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Post-DART impact: European HERA mission will return to asteroid Dimorphos with Dutch tech HyperScout H on board

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) spacecraft has reached its destination after almost one year and collided with an asteroid of the Didymos system on Tuesday 27 September 2022 at 01:14 CEST (26 September 2022 23:14 UTC) to change its trajectory. In a follow-up HERA mission, incorporating cosine’s hyperspectral imager HyperScout H, a second spacecraft will fly to the asteroid to collect data.

DART and HERA were conceived as part of the international ‘Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment’ (AIDA) collaboration. NASA’s DART mission is the US component of AIDA. Launched on 24 November 2021, the fridge-sized spacecraft arrived at the Didymos system after almost one year. The impact was achieved using an onboard camera and sophisticated autonomous navigation software. DART reached Didymos on 26 September 2022 and collided with its moon.

Post-impact investigations will be performed initially from Earth and then by the other component of AIDA, ESA’s HERA mission. Due to launch in 2024, HERA will follow up to investigate the Didymos binary asteroid, including the first assessment of its internal properties, and to measure in great detail the outcome of NASA’s DART mission kinetic impactor test. HERA will provide precious information for future asteroid deflection missions and science, increasing our understanding of asteroid geophysics as well as solar system formation and evolutionary processes. It is the European contribution to the international double-spacecraft collaboration.

HERA will have many cutting edge instruments on board, such as cosine’s HyperScout H, and gather crucial scientific data to help scientists and future mission planners better understand asteroid compositions and structures.

HyperScout

HyperScout H is a customized model for HERA available for future planetary missions. It is an evolution of cosine’s HyperScout model, a hyperspectral camera made to fit satellites the size of a shoebox. This instrument records images of what happens on Earth in many more colors than a human eye can distinguish.

The HyperScout line of instruments is developed by cosine and partners with support from the European Space Agency and the Netherlands Space Office.

Read more on our dedicated HyperScout page.

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