Breathing life into Hera, ESA’s asteroid detective

Sarah LeachSarah Leach
  2 December 2021

Our Science Office has used creative visual and storytelling techniques to introduce the world to ESA’s Hera spacecraft and her mission to asteroid Didymos.

Hera’s mission is to complete a close-up survey of the asteroid and its ‘moonlet’ Dimorphos, following-up on the results of NASA’s DART mission. The two missions together aim to increase our knowledge of asteroids and ways to protect the Earth from them. DART will collide with Dimorphos to attempt to alter its orbit around Didymos and Hera will arrive two years later as a ‘crime scene investigator’ to observe the asteroids in general and DART’s effects upon them.

Our role in the project has been to support communications, including the creation of the ‘Incredible Adventures of the Hera Mission’ series of videos. Through close collaboration with the scientific and communications teams, for the mission we scripted and produced videos that give the spacecraft a personality to help connect people to the mission. The videos incorporate humour and an engaging style in order to appeal to a wide audience of children and adults.

Watch Episode 2 below, which explores the history of asteroid research, from the 18th century Cosmic Police to today’s Hera spacecraft. Episode 1, which introduces Hera and her mission overall to the world, is available to watch on the ESA website.

The Incredible Adventures of the Hera mission – Episode 2
© ESA – European Space Agency