Today’s Tech Image: Micro-lander stops on an asteroid

NASA isn’t the only space agency in on the future asteroid missions.

In this image you can see the European Space Agency’s proposed micro-lander that would target an asteroid for the Asteroid Impact Mission.

(Image via ESA)
(Image via ESA)

The asteroid body in question is about 550 ft. in diameter (roughly the same size as the Great Pyramid of Giza) and orbits less than a mile above the larger 0.5-mile diameter primary Didymos asteroid (shown in the background of this image), to complete a circuit every 12 hours.

The ESA’s micro-lander, named Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout-2 (MASCOT-2), is about the size of a microwave and  is under study by the German Aerospace Center DLR.

MASCOT-2 would carry a compact wide-angle camera and a radiometer for close-up examination of the asteroid surface, as well as a low-frequency radar to help probe the interior of the asteroid it rests on. A set of accelerometers would record the details of its impact with the surface and it would be powered with its solar panels that can provide at least three months of working life.

NASA’s own Double Asteroid Redirection Test probe, or DART, will function in the same way.

ESA plans to increase public awareness of potential asteroid impacts with Earth on June 30 this year, also known as Asteroid Day.

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