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chine prevoit lancer fusees devier asteroide bennu trajectoire

China plans to divert about 20 rockets from its orbit on the asteroid Pennu

In 1999, it was discovered by astronomers Asteroid 101955 Pen, Is classified as the nearest Apollo to the Earth (i.e. intersecting the Earth’s orbit). The object approaches the Earth at a distance of 300,000 km every six years (thus classifying it as a dangerous asteroid), and between 2175 and 2199, the probability of its impact with the Earth is estimated at 1 in 2700. For this, China has a plan: to send twenty rockets to deviate from its path to attack Pennu.

Chinese researchers want to send more than 20 rockets to orbit to orbit the Earth. Scientists at China’s National Space Science Center have found in simulations that 23 Long March 5 rockets, weighing a total of 900 tonnes, could strike the asteroid from its original orbit about 9000 km or 1.4 at the same time as it leaves the planet. Fold the radius of the earth.

The probability of an asteroid colliding with Earth is low, but one specifically named Pennu, which weighs 78 billion kilograms, has been the subject of extensive observations. Pennu is classified as a Type B asteroid, meaning it is rich in carbon and various minerals formed 4.5 billion years ago. As a primitive artifact preserved in the vacuum of space, asteroids may contain molecules that developed when life first formed on Earth.

Asteroid photos of Pennu taken by Osiris-Rex mission. © NASA / JBL / University of Austin

Deviation via rockets: Better way than nuclear explosion

Between 2175 and 2199, Pennu will be less than 7.5 million kilometers from Earth’s orbit. Although the probability of a collision with Earth is only 1 in 2,700, that risk is still sufficient to worry scientists about the extent of the damage caused by the asteroid.

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Asteroid Project Pennu
Map showing the orbit (green) of the asteroid Pennu near Earth. © Planetary Society

It will take a lot of kinetic energy to orbit the asteroid, but nuclear hazards will scatter an asteroid like Pennu into more vulnerable pieces. It sends several rockets, which will have to travel for three years before reaching their destination, which is a very practical option. ” With a mechanism that does not have a nuclear system can protect against large meteors within 10 years Says Chinese astronomer Li Mingtaw.

The deflection will be more efficient by increasing the extra propulsion of unused fuel when launching the rocket, as well as the total mass of the rocket. The researchers say that for the existing rockets to be ready for mission, only minor changes, such as the addition of propulsion, will be required.

Hammer: America’s plan to divert Penn

A similar attempt was made by the United States HAMMER (Hypervolence asteroid reduction task for emergency response), Which will send more material – 400 tons of rocket material – to the pen; This will speed up the journey and take two years to reach the asteroid.

However, this project is very expensive and takes more time to set up. The United States must find the asteroid 25 years before the conflict, while the Chinese plan will only require a decade of anticipation. NASA also sent a spacecraft to follow Penn In order to collect samples Asteroid. Osiris-Rex landed his three-meter-long arm and crawled over the asteroid before picking up loose particles from the rock. NASA expects Osiris-Rex Returns to Earth in 2023 with its models.

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