July 22, 2024

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A Dutch touch for space crash testing

A Dutch touch for space crash testing

Somewhere out in space, an asteroid may be on its way to directly colliding with Earth. Jesus fears destructionH Crashes And prepares for a planetary defense mission. On board there is a Dutch innovation: HyperScout H.

Today, the European Space Agency opens the doors of its clean room at the ESTEC Center in Noordwijk to take a final look at the Hera spacecraft. Image: cosine, isa

Hera is currently undergoing final testing before its launch in October on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The mission is a follow-up to the DART space mission. The goal: to stop an asteroid hurtling towards our planet at high speed.

Crashes

At the end of September 2022, NASA sent the DART space mission to the asteroid Demorphos to deliberately collide with it and see if the 170-meter-diameter asteroid could deviate from its orbit. This worked, but to investigate the full impact of the collision, the European Space Agency sent the new Hera mission there. This is to see if the planetary defense method can be replicated.

Dutch innovation

The spaceship, about the size of a truck, will study Dimorphos up close. HyperScout H will determine soil composition. HyperScout H is a hyperspectral camera from the technology company Cosine from Sassenheim. “It has been two years of very hard work, but the integration process into the spacecraft has been a success,” says project manager Pierluigi Foglia Manzello. “All the tests have been completed successfully.” The camera can withstand the force and noise of a rocket take-off, as well as the constant vacuum and extreme temperatures of space.

practical

“If you don’t know what your soil composition is, HyperScout H gives you the best chance of determining it,” says Marco Bjersbergen, founder and director of HyperScout H. cosine. “HyperScout measures H in such detail that it detects hundreds of colours: hyperspectral. This allows us to determine the composition of the asteroid from a distance, based on the color model of all known raw materials.

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Hera will be launched in October and will reach the asteroid in December 2026.