An artist's concept for the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission led by the European Space Agency to intentionally strike an asteroid and test deflection capabilities that could protect Earth.
A mission that aims to slam a spacecraft into a near-Earth asteroid now officially has a target — a space rock called Didymos.
The joint European/U.S. Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment mission, or AIDA, will work to intercept Didymos in 2022, when the space rock is about 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) from Earth, European Space Agency officials announced Friday (Feb. 22).
Didymos is actually a binary system, in which a 2,625-foot-wide (800 meters) asteroid and a 490-foot (150 m) space rock orbit each other. Didymos poses no threat to Earth in the foreseeable future.
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