The idea has all the horrific catastrophic scenarios, but China can’t be more serious: the country has a space mission that involves firing on an asteroid.
China’s National Center for Space Science plans to launch more than twenty rockets into space at the asteroid Pennu.
The 500-meter asteroid was recently visited from the OSIRIS-REX probe, from which samples were collected. Samples should come to us on September 24, 2023 for analysis.
These models are of particular interest to scientists, especially since Penn is considered a space antiquity whose composition has not changed in the last 4.6 billion years, and analysis should give us clues about evolution. Of the universe and our solar system.
Nevertheless, Pennu is also concerned: the asteroid is between NEO: 2175 and 2199, which can only cross 7.5 million kilometers from our Earth. If the risks of a collision were low, one impact would have catastrophic consequences: it is estimated to be equivalent to an explosion of 1,200 megatons.
This is why China is seriously considering putting in place a plan to divert its orbit before the asteroid becomes truly dangerous.
For now, there are plans to launch 23 Long March-5 rockets. Each rocket weighs 992 tons and can travel up to 9,000 km once in space.
No date has been set for the launch of the program, but by then, NASA and ESA will have already tested their own system called DART (Dual Asteroid Redirection) on Didymus asteroids.
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