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China hopes to redirect a nearby asteroid within the next four years

China hopes to redirect a nearby asteroid within the next four years

Artist's impression of Demorphos shortly after it collided with NASA's DART spacecraft.  The proposed Chinese kinetic impact test is likely to use a similar strategy.

Artist’s impression of Demorphos shortly after it collided with NASA’s DART spacecraft. The proposed kinetic occlusion test by China is likely to be used Similar strategy.
picture: ESA

Global efforts to protect Earth from dangerous asteroids are set to get stronger, as China announced its intentions to test an asteroid redirection system as early as 2025.

Speaking to China Central Television on Sunday, Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), described China’s initial plans to embark on a planetary defense project. according to China’s state-owned news agency, Global Times. Wu’s comments coincided with Space Day, an annual event commemorating the launch of China’s first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, in 1970.

For the proposed test, Wu said the probe will closely examine an object near Earth before smashing it. known as kinetic effectThe idea is to change the orbital path of a threatened asteroid by pointing a large, high-speed spacecraft at the object. NASA is currently running a similar test known as Double Asteroid Redirect Testor DART, which seeks to deliberately collide a space probe with Dimorphos – a small asteroid – later this year.

Global Times says that CNA project is in its early stages and is still under review for approval. The Chinese space agency is targeting 2025 or 2026 to conduct the test, A timeline coinciding with the end of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan period, according to Wu.

In addition, Wu said the CNSA hopes to develop a ground-based monitoring and warning system to analyze and classify potentially dangerous objects near Earth. No further details were provided, but the system will likely mimic NASA’s Guard-II Monitoring system, which independently assesses the risks of an asteroid collision. According to the Global Times, programs designed to simulate dangers posed by asteroids and desktop exercises for defense operation training are also planned, adding that China “bears the responsibility as a major global power in protecting the Earth with other countries.” Wu said the proposed monitoring and warning system will precede the asteroid impact mitigation test.

Having more eyes on the sky is a good thing. I hope CNSA, NASA and other space agencies and astronomical groups will pool their resources To make sure that no threatened asteroids are lost and coordinate these efforts in beneficial ways. NASA Says It currently tracks 28,000 near-Earth objects and nearly 3,000 are added to the list each year.

CNSA proposed The program and the kinetic impact test are welcome news And another sign of China’s continuing ambitions in space and space exploration. The country’s space initiatives are advancing rapidly, as evidenced by their robotics lunar And Martian missions and its nascent space station, which is made Available For foreign astronauts, including space tourists.

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