July 21, 2024

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Crash testing in space has a Dutch touch – Dutch cowboys

Crash testing in space has a Dutch touch – Dutch cowboys

Somewhere out in the vastness of space, an undetected asteroid could be on its way to directly colliding with Earth. Such an impact could be devastating for humanity, which is why the European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing a planetary defense mission called HERA. A special Dutch innovation can be found on board: the HyperScout H.

Today (April 15), 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. It is currently undergoing final tests there before launching in October on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The mission is a sequel to the DART space mission, which would not be out of place in sci-fi films like Armageddon and Deep Impact. The goal of this mission: to stop an asteroid hurtling towards our planet at high speed.

Asteroid Dimorphos

At the end of September 2022, NASA sent DART space mission To the asteroid Dimorphos to intentionally collide with it and see if the 170-meter-diameter asteroid could be deviated 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.

HyperScout H: a Dutch innovation

The spaceship, about the size of a truck, will study Dimorphos up close. With a special Dutch innovation on board, the HyperScout H, the soil composition will be determined. HyperScout H is a hyperspectral camera from the technology company Cosine from Sassenheim. “It’s been two years of very hard work,Project manager Pierluigi Foglia Manzello says:But integration into the spacecraft was successful. All tests were 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.

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