Article Image
IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

ESA tests tiny instrument to measure asteroid's tiny gravity

• arclein

In September 2022, NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) rammed into Dimorphos, which orbits around the larger asteroid Didymos, as part of an experiment to learn more about how to deflect potentially dangerous celestial bodies before they reach Earth. This was only half of the job, with ESA's robotic Hera mission tasked with assessing the aftermath of the cosmic collision. Part of this effort includes the Juventas CubeSat, which is about the size of two loaves of bread, that will be deployed from the Hera deep-space probe and land on Dimorphos. Among its small suite of instruments is the GRASS gravimeter, developed by the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) with Spain's EMXYS company that is currently completing preflight tests at the space agency's Mechanical Systems Laboratory to determine its ability to withstand launch vibrations and the hostile environment of space.