The first measure is considered only as a nuclear option, pun intended, the second one has been calculated only on paper...
The space agency has been tracking the rock since November 19 this year. It will also be Earth's first probe to meet with a binary asteroid system, and a not-so-well understood group, making up nearly 15 % of all known space objects. Or at least to start the process of learning how we might prevent Armageddon by crashing a spacecraft into a binary asteroid.
"There are many out there both in Ireland, the UK, Europe and around the world who regularly track asteroids and even measure how their brightness changes with time". Majority are detected in advance, however sometimes scientists fail to spot them.
As this asteroid orbits the Sun, the space rock occasionally crosses Earth's path. We will need to do something about it. Hera will visit the double asteroid Didymos to scope out its smaller component, informally called "Didymoon", a few years after NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft has collided with it.
The CubeSats will perform like drones, apprehending significant data about the impact crater and offering scientists information such as the mass of the asteroid that will help them find out its structure.
The good news is none of the rocks will come close enough to strike the planet. That is when ESA's Hera mission will take over.
Several top space experts including popular American physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson had previously warned that the end of the Earth could happen due to a deadly asteroid collision.
How can amateur astronomers help?
However, if 2005 ED224 is able to maintain its incredible speed, the asteroid has the potential to successfully go through the atmosphere and cause an impact event on the ground. Studying these bodies "could give clues to their characteristics in advance of Hera's launch in October 2024", Professor Fitzsimmons said.
"Asteroid research is one area of astronomy where amateur observes continue to make an essential contribution", he says. CNEOS made sure to highlight the fact that the asteroid is about 75 feet wide. "That's particularly what we're looking for - these advanced amateurs", Fitzsimmons concluded.