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Space Safety


9 September 2022

Journalists are invited to take part in an online media briefing on Thursday, 15 September, in advance of the planned impact of NASA’s DART mission with an asteroid later this month.

NASA’s DART (for ‘Double Asteroid Redirection Test’) mission is lined up to collide with a body called Dimorphos – a 160-m diameter ‘moonlet’ of a larger asteroid called Didymos – to try and measurably shift its orbit. Impact occurs on September 27 at 01:14 CEST.

This collision, humankind’s first planetary defence test, will be followed up by a close-up survey by an ESA spacecraft called Hera, currently under construction. Hera will return data on the asteroid’s mass and makeup, as well as measuring the crater left by DART, to help turn this grand-scale experiment into a well-understood and repeatable ‘kinetic impactor’ method of planetary defence.

The briefing will highlight Europe’s participation in the DART mission including the Italian Space Agency (ASI) LICIACubesat, as DART’s cruise companion and real-time witness of the impact, ESA’s ground observation campaign and ground station support, as well as provide updates on ESA’s own Hera mission, planned for launch in 2024.

Media briefing (online only)

Thursday, 15 September 2022, 14:00 CEST start, in English

Registration required

13:55 – Media participants login via dedicated WebEx link

14:00 – Welcome and introduction of speakers

14:05-15:00 – Expert presentations by ESA, NASA, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and ASI speakers, including:

Ian Carnelli, Hera mission manager (ESA)

Tom Statler, Program Scientist at Planetary Defense Coordination Office (NASA)

Nancy Chabot, DART Coordination Lead (Johns Hopkins APL)

Daniel Firre, Estrack service manager (ESA)

Simone Pirrotta, LICIACube project manager (ASI, Italian space agency)

This will be followed by media Q&A and individual interview possibilities.

Additional European experts including Patrick Michel, Hera Principal Investigator CNRS (Cote d’Azur University, Cote d’Azur Observatory), Michael Kueppers, Hera project scientist (ESA), Heli Greus, HERA mission Product Assurance & Safety Manager (ESA) and Margherita Cardi, VP programmatics (TYVAK; Hera CubeSat) are expected to be in the call and available for media questions.  

 The media briefing will be webcast via ESA TV at:

DART, Hera and AIDA

The DART mission is being developed and led for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is the lead for planetary defense activities and is sponsoring the DART mission.

Both DART and Hera are part of the largely international collaboration known as AIDA—Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment. As part of AIDA, European, American and international scientists will combine the data obtained from NASA’s DART mission, which includes ASI's LICIACube as DART cruise companion and real-time witness of the impact, and ESA's Hera mission to produce the most accurate knowledge possible from the first demonstration of an asteroid deflection.

Media registration and contact

Media representatives are requested to register via the registration form, at the latest by September 14 th , EOB

Registered media will receive the media briefing access link and further details directly via email. 

Further information

NASA DART mission  

ESA Hera mission

ESA Hera mission science community


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Social media

For updates on DART and Hera follow

Twitter: @AsteroidWatch, @NASASolarSystem, @esaoperations, @esa_tech, @JHUAPL 

Follow ESA on:

Twitter: @esa

Instagram:  Europeanspaceagency

Facebook:  EuropeanSpaceAgency

YouTube:  ESA

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia, Latvia and Lithuania are Associate Members.

ESA has established formal cooperation with five Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information:

ESA Newsroom and Media Relations Office – Ninja Menning
Phone: +31 71 565 6409

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