Together with the Japanese space agency JAXA and Belgian partner ROB, VITO Remote Sensing contributes to the development of TIRI, a thermal infrared imager and one of the scientific instruments onboard Hera.

Hera is a planetary defence ESA mission currently under development and planned to be launched in October 2024. 
In 2026 it foresees a rendezvous with a binary asteroid system where the main body Didymos (780 m diameter) is orbited by a 160 m moon, called 'Dimorphos'.
The smaller asteroid Dimorphos has achieved historic significance as it is the first object in the Solar System for which the orbit has been changed by human effort. A NASA mission, called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) has collided with the asteroid in September 2022. This event took place as part of the planetary defence, to investigate whether mankind can protect itself by changing an asteroid's orbit in case it would be on a trajectory that collides with the Earth.

The main goals of Hera are detailed characterization of the physical proporties of the two asteroids and of the crater made by the DART mission, as well as measuring the momentum transfer efficiency resulting from DART's impact.
To do so, Hera has several scientific instruments of which one is TIRI: a camera operating in the thermal infrared wavelength regime. With this instrument we can determine the surface temperature and from its variations we can determine the surface content and characteristics like for instance bare rock or rather a dusty surface. 



The Thermal Infrared Imager (TIRI) is being built by the Japanese space agency JAXA with a Belgian contribution.
Together with ROB, VITO Remote Sensing contributes to:

  • Analysis of the instrument testing
  • Design and implementation of the image processing
    (thermography and geometric)
  • In-flight calibration
  • Instrument operations
  • Data pipeline and archiving system




The data from the Hera spacecraft and its two CubeSats will provide significant insights into asteroid science and the evolution history of our solar system.
The mission will thus provie a crucial element in the global effort to avert future asteroid impacts at the same time as providing world-leading science

SPACE Mission
Podcast (Dutch)
If you like to hear more about DART and Hera, and the risks of a meteor impact...