UA LECTURER ADRIANO CAMPO BAGATIN IS THE ONLY SPANISH RESEARCHER SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN SPACE MISSION AIDA
The mission is coordinated by NASA and the European Space Agency, and its main goal is to measure current technological capacity to avoid asteroid impact against the Earth.
Currently undergoing study phase, the mission is aimed at intercepting asteroid Didiymos in 2022, when it will be closest to our planet.
Alicante, 23 April 2015
Adriano Campo Bagatin, a lecturer of UA’s Department of Physics, System Engineering and Signal Theory, is the selected Spanish researcher to participate in the Steering Committee of space mission AIDA (Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment), coordinated by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).The main goal of this project is, among others, to assess our current technological capacity to prevent asteroids from crashing against the earth.
The mission is nowadays in study phase, and it is aimed at intercepting asteroid Didymos when it gets closest to the Earth in year 2022. Didymos is a “binary” asteroid, this is, an asteroid with a satellite. Its main body is approximately 800 metres wide; its satellite has a diameter of 150 metres and orbits 1.2 kilometres away from the asteroid.
The project includes launching two spacecrafts: space probe AIM (Asteroid Impact Mission), managed by ESA, and projectile DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), managed by the United States agency. More specifically, in October 2020 AIM will study the asteroid in close proximity, whereas DART will be launched in July 2021 and is expected to land on Didymos’ satellite at a speed of 6.5 km/s on October 2022.
In the words of Adriano Campo Bagatin, “observing and measuring the deviation caused by DART’s impact on the satellite’s orbit we will assess the efficiency of using collisions as a method to deviate asteroids around 100 metres wide orbiting the Earth close enough to collide with it .
Within the framework of AIDA mission, UA lecturer will be coordinating one of the four work forces who will study Didymo’s binary system in depth to analyse its physical and dynamic properties, its internal structure, the measures needed to interpret it, etc.
Together with with lecturer Paula Benavidez and PhD student Rafael Alemañ, Adriano Campo Bagatin works in the Department of Physics, System Engineering and Signal Theory of the University of Alicante on the study of the internal structure of small solar system bodies (asteroids and comets) by means of numerical simulation. He also collaborates with the Andalusian Institute of Astrophysics on the study of surface materials (rocks and dust) in fast-rotating (under 3.5 hours) small asteroids (under 5-10 km). Campo Bagatin himself explains that “both activities are very interesting for space missions on asteroids, and more specifically for AIDA”.
AIDA Steering Committee
The Steering Committee in charge of NASA and ESA’s space mission is made up by five European researchers from the German Aerospace Centre, the University of Alicante, the Czech Republic Science Academy, Nice’s Observatory, and five US researchers from the University of Maryland, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory.