Self-driving spacecraft set for planetary defence expedition

Staff Writers | April 08, 2019

Self-driving spacecraft set for planetary defence expedition
Engineers designing ESA's Hera planetary defence mission to the Didymos asteroid pair are developing advanced technology to let the spacecraft steer itself through space, taking a similar approach to self-driving cars. If you think self-driving cars are the future on Earth, then Hera is the pioneer of autonomy in deep space," explains Paolo Martino, lead systems engineer of ESA's proposed Hera mission. "While the mission is designed to be fully operated manually from ground, the new technology will be tested once the core mission objectives are achieved and higher risks can be taken. Hera is currently the subject of detailed design work, ahead of being presented to Europe's space ministers at the Space19+ Ministerial Council this November. The spacecraft will survey a tiny 160-m diameter moon of the 780-m diameter Didymos asteroid, in the aftermath of a pioneering planetary defence experiment.

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The outpouring of support from Jazz employees to our colleagues in Fort McMurray continues to be incredible. We wanted to show the team in YMM just how much support they have from across the country and we think that a video says it all!

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