AIDA DART asteroid deflection test: Planetary defense and science objectives

Andrew F. Cheng, Andrew S. Rivkin, Patrick Michel, Justin Atchison, Olivier Barnouin, Lance Benner, Nancy L. Chabot, Carolyn Ernst, Eugene G. Fahnestock, Michael Kueppers, Petr Pravec, Emma Rainey, Derek C. Richardson, Angela M. Stickle, Cristina Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


The Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission is an international cooperation between NASA and ESA. NASA plans to provide the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission which will perform a kinetic impactor experiment to demonstrate asteroid impact hazard mitigation. ESA proposes to provide the Hera mission which will rendezvous with the target to monitor the deflection, perform detailed characterizations, and measure the DART impact outcomes and momentum transfer efficiency. The primary goals of AIDA are (i) to demonstrate the kinetic impact technique on a potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid and (ii) to measure and characterize the deflection caused by the impact. The AIDA target will be the binary asteroid (65803) Didymos, which is of spectral type Sq, with the deflection experiment to occur in October, 2022. The DART impact on the secondary member of the binary at ∼6 km/s changes the orbital speed and the binary orbit period, which can be measured by Earth-based observatories with telescope apertures as small as 1 m. The DART impact will in addition alter the orbital and rotational states of the Didymos binary, leading to excitation of eccentricity and libration that, if measured by Hera, can constrain internal structure of the target asteroid. Measurements of the DART crater diameter and morphology can constrain target properties like cohesion and porosity based on numerical simulations of the DART impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-115
Number of pages12
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteroid impact hazards
  • Binary asteroids
  • Hypervelocity cratering
  • Kinetic impactor
  • Momentum transfer efficiency
  • Planetary defense

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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