AIDA, joint cooperation between European and US space agencies: IT’s main goal is to to assess the possibility of deflecting an asteroid by impact.
They will send two spacecrafts to a double asteroid system, Didymos.
“The AIM spacecraft is set to rendez-vous with the asteroid system a few months prior to the impact to fully characterise the smaller of the two bodies, dubbed “Didymoon”.
In addition to this AIM will release a set of Cubesats in deep space and a lander on the surface of the smaller asteroid. We will thus demonstrate deep-space inter-satellite linking for the first time between the main spacecraft, the cubesats and the lander.
“AIM is a unique mission as it will be the first time that a spacecraft will investigate the surface, subsurface and internal properties of a small binary Near-Earth Asteroid, in addition to performing various important technology demonstrations that can serve other space missions. This knowledge is not only important for Planetary Defense, but it has great implications for our understanding of the history of the Solar System. Our current understanding is that these small asteroids are the outcome of collisions and other effects that made them what they are now. Having crucial information on their internal properties will allow us to feed small body population evolution models to draw a more reliable story of the Solar System.”