World Space Week 2022 – Space and Sustainability

Imagine firing a bullet into a free-wheeling lorry.  That’s the kind of tiny nudge the DART mission gave to asteroid Dimorphos, when NASA deliberately crashed it into the surface, last week.  The idea is to investigate ways in which we can protect ourselves against Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) that might threaten Earth.  Given enough time, the tiniest nudge years in advance could change the trajectory of an asteroid that may be heading for our planet. 

The European Space Agency (ESA) are also going to investigate the effects of the impact using their Hera mission, launching in 2024.  In 2026, Hera will rendezvous with Dimorphos and perform a detailed survey, enabling us to learn more about using impacts as a planetary defence technique.

Protecting our planet, environment and the space around our planet are all important, and link to the theme of World Space Week (WSW) 2022: space and sustainability.  WSW runs from 4th to 10th October each year, and you can register your own events through the WSW website.

You might like to check out the resources on the new ESA Teach with Space Debris webpage, which includes three teaching resources developed by ESERO-UK, for primary schools,: “Why is there space junk?”; “Cleaning up space”; and “Coming back to Earth safely”.  You can also hear from an expert at ESA on how they clean up space.

For upper secondary and FE physics students, how about asking them to do some conservation of momentum calculations with DART and Dimorphos: for example, how would Diphormos’ velocity change assuming a head-on collision?

We also have our popular resource “How to plan and run your own space week”, for primary schools, and more through ESERO-UK

Further advice on how to run an event can be found the UK national organisers of WSW, the British Interplanetary Society.

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