Asteroid warning: Didymos headed for earth - ‘Mountain with Great Pyramid’ attached

A mission to land on the double asteroid, which has been described as a “mountain in the sky with another rock the size of the Great Pyramid swinging around it” attached is set to take its course in November. It will be humanity’s first mission involving the act of a team of astronauts landing on a asteroid to destroy it - echoing the plot of the 1998 science fiction disaster film Armageddon, starring Bruce Willis. Astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May explained the mission a video for the European Space Agency (ESA), who will be taking on the heart-stopping mission.

He warned: “Imagine a mountain in the sky, with another rock the size of the Great Pyramid swinging around it - that’s Didymos.”

“And just the seemingly tiny moon would be big enough to destroy a city if it were to collide with the Earth.

“But we’re going to find out if it’s possible to deflect it.”

He added: “This is going to be really, really hard - aiming at a 160 metre-wide target across millions of kilometres of void.”

“Could we stop an asteroid hitting our planet Earth?

“The dinosaurs couldn’t, but we humans have the benefit of knowledge and science on our side.”

The ESA said in a statement the mission will “revolutionise our understanding of asteroids and how to protect ourselves from them”, implying the threat could be far greater in the not-so-distant future.

The terrifying assignment has been called Hera.

READ MORE: God of Chaos: The asteroid which could blast Earth

“The Hera mission will be presented to ESA’s Space19+ meeting this November, where Europe’s space ministers will take a final decision on flying the mission, as part of the Agency’s broader planetary defence initiatives that aim to protect European and world citizens.”

Didymos is a sub-kilometer asteroid and synchronous binary system, classified as potentially hazardous asteroid and near-Earth object.

The larger asteroid has a smaller ‘moon’ orbiting it.

This gives the asteroid its name Didymos, which means ‘twin’ in Greek. Asteroids of all sizes have been pummelling Earth for billions of years.

Earth is bombarded with more than 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles every day.

But only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten life on Earth arrives.

Didymoon will easily be the smallest asteroid ever explored, meaning the space rock will provide insights into the cohesion of material in an environment of negligible gravity – more than a million times weaker than Earth’s.

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