Sabina D. Raducan is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Sabina graduated with a PhD from Imperial College London (UK) and her job is mainly centred around creating numerical simulations of impacts into asteroids. Sabina has been part of the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Program (DART) investigation team that examines the use of an impactor spacecraft for planetary defence against potential threats posed by Earth-crossing asteroids. She is also part of the ESA Hera mission, which will rendezvous with asteroid Didymos in 2026. Her work will be essential in developing planetary defence strategies against asteroidal threats.
Planetary science: The Hera mission
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Hera mission, set to launch in October 2024, aims to investigate the Didymos binary asteroid and measure the results of NASA’s DART mission kinetic impactor test. Hera’s observations will provide valuable insights for future asteroid deflection efforts and enhance our understanding of asteroid geophysics, solar system formation, and evolutionary processes. The mission represents the first assessment of the internal properties of Didymos and will greatly expand our knowledge of asteroids. Overall, the Hera mission will play a critical role in protecting our planet from potential asteroid impacts.