Pasadena, CA (November 22, 2019)—The Planetary Society, the world's largest independent space interest organization, issued the following statements in support of the proposed European Space Agency (ESA) mission, Hera:
"Defending the Earth from asteroid impacts is, by definition, a global effort. The European Space Agency, in addition to supporting ground-based observations of near-Earth objects, has the opportunity to partner with NASA to validate asteroid deflection technology—a critical capability for preventing devastating impacts.
ESA's proposed Hera mission would complement NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission by providing precise measurements that would refine our understanding of the effectiveness of impact deflection methods. Never before has humanity validated this capability with a real asteroid system.
Hera would increase confidence in humankind's ability to deflect a threatening asteroid. It is affordable and timely. It addresses a fundamental issue related to the safety and security of the human species. In addition to asking our members in Europe to sign an open letter of support for Hera, The Planetary Society official urges ESA's member states to embrace and prioritize this important mission."
The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.