China’s space agency announces an asteroid-deflecting mission

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China’s space agency has revealed ground-breaking ideas to deflect asteroids from colliding with the Earth. This potential new mission might launch as early as 2025 on a threatening asteroid.

China’s space agency recently stated that it is working on new space surveillance and defence system, which will be tested by crashing a spaceship into an asteroid. According to China National Space Administration (CSNA) deputy Wu Yanhua, who spoke to state-run news source Global Times on Sunday, the potential new mission will be launched as early as 2025 on a threatening asteroid by closely following and striking it to shift its orbit.

China has yet to decide which asteroid to attack. Mr Yanhua, on the other hand, said that the asteroid detecting system was created to safeguard spacecraft and “Earth and mankind.

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The monitoring and warning system, according to CSNA, will be stationed both on Earth and in space, with the potential to collect and analyse asteroids that represent a threat to humanity’s space operations. Then, according to the agency, suitable technology and engineering will be created to eliminate the hazards. The goal is to find a potentially dangerous asteroid and send a spacecraft to collide with it, modifying its orbit.

Mr. Yanhua told Global Times that the CSNA is building simulation software for probable impacts from near-Earth asteroids, and rehearsals for the defence procedure with other countries would be held.

Separately, Song Zhongping, a military specialist and space watcher, told the state-run media outlet that China’s defence system might be a valuable complement in dealing with the possibility of asteroids colliding with Earth. Mr Zhongping emphasised that the future mission is yet another realistic answer that China presents for establishing a society with a common destiny for humanity.

The system is now in the project setup phase and is being examined for permission.

CSNA AND NASA

This isn’t the first time China has set its eyes on protecting the Earth from dangerous asteroids.

Last year, China suggested a missile attack to redirect the 78 billion kilogramme asteroid Bennu, which would pass within 7.5 million kilometres of Earth’s orbit in the next 150 years.

It comes after Nasa launched a mission last year to crash a spacecraft with an asteroid in the hopes of throwing it off track.

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China’s intention to collide with an asteroid to modify its trajectory is similar to NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) programme, which launched in November last year. DART was first introduced in 2017. The NASA spacecraft will now collide with a binary asteroid to test whether it can alter its trajectory, with the collision set for sometime after September of this year.

The impact is expected to occur this year, and if successful, it can save the whole of humankind from an apocalypse.

The project, according to Nasa, is an “effort to pull off a feat hitherto only seen in science fiction films.”

While no known asteroid bigger than 140 metres has a reasonable probability of colliding with Earth in the next 100 years, only around 40% of such asteroids have been discovered as of October 2021.

Anushka Saha
Anushka Saha
I'm just a Law student experimenting with new fields.

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