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NASA’s DART mission punched the Didymos asteroid in 2022 — now it’s time to go back

GMV Hera testing with camera and model asteroid.
This is Hera’s asteroid framing camera being used in Spain for testing navigation algorithms. | Image: MPS / GMV

The European Space Agency (ESA) is running some of the final tests required to launch its Hera mission this October, which aims to investigate the asteroid that NASA intentionally slammed a spacecraft into back in 2022. The goal is to gather more accurate information about the collision to help develop systems that can protect our planet by deflecting asteroids that head our way.

The spacecraft for the Hera mission is undergoing preflight testing, alongside the Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) system it needs to maneuver around the Dimorphos and Didymos binary asteroid system. The GNC system is being validated via virtual tests conducted in Spain and Germany using replicas of Hera spacecraft components.

“The system for Hera’s…

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