Science and planetary defense objectives of the ESA Hera Mission

Patrick Michel*, Michael Köppers, Alan Fitzsimmons, Simon F. Green, Monica Lazzarin, Stephan Ulamec, Ian Carnelli, Paolo Martino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Hera mission is in development for launch in 2024 within the ESA Space Safety Program. Hera will perform the first rendezvous with a binary asteroid, the near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos, from late December 2026, and with the NASA DART mission, will contribute to the first deflection test of an asteroid, in the framework of the international NASA-And ESA-supported Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) collaboration. The main goals of Hera are the detailed characterisation of the physical and compositional properties of Didymos and in particular its 160 meter-size moon Dimorphos, which is DART s target. Hera will also measure in great detail the properties of the crater made by the DART impact on Dimorphos, as well as the resulting momentum transfer efficiency. Hera and its two CubeSats will provide significant insights into asteroid science and the evolutionary history of our Solar System. It will perform measurements never done before, such as radar sounding of an asteroid interior, allowing models and paradigms in planetary science to be tested. Hera will thus contribute greatly to the global effort to avert future asteroid impacts at the same time as providing world-leading science.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIAF Space Exploration Symposium 2021. Held at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2021: Proceedings
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
ISBN (Electronic)9781713842965
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2022
EventIAF Space Exploration Symposium 2021 at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 25 Oct 202129 Oct 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
ISSN (Print)0074-1795


ConferenceIAF Space Exploration Symposium 2021 at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Hera science and engineering team members for their continuous efforts, and ESA and CNES for support. We acknowledge funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870377 (project NEO-MAPP).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Astronautical Federation, IAF. All rights reserved.


  • Binary Asteroid
  • CubeSats
  • Internal Structure.
  • Kinetic Impact
  • Planetary Defense

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Science and planetary defense objectives of the ESA Hera Mission'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this