China is planning to test an asteroid deflection technology

China is going to change the orbit of a potentially dangerous asteroid by direct kinetic impact. This was stated in an interview with China Central Television Wu Yanhua —Deputy Director of the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA).

A near-Earth asteroid as imagined by an artist. Source: ESA / P.Carril

The asteroid deflection mission is part of a global defense program being developed by China. Within its framework, Chinese scientists are conducting research and studying various ways to counter potentially dangerous celestial bodies. CNSA is also developing an early warning system for dangerous approaches and is developing software to simulate the effects of operations against small bodies in the solar system.

According to Wu Yanhua, a test to change the orbit of the celestial body is scheduled for 2025-2026. The exact details of the operation, as well as the object selected for its implementation are currently unknown. However, it can be assumed that it will resemble a similar test planned for the fall of this year by NASA. As it is planned, the DART probe will crash into the 160-meter asteroid Dimorphos, which is a satellite of the larger asteroid Didymos.

DART mission scheme. Source: NASA / Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

The collision of the DART probe with Dimorph and its consequences will be monitored by radars and a network of ground-based observatories, as well as the Italian cubesat LICIACube. It will be separated from the main unit a few days before the collision and will photograph the moment of impact. We would like to remind you that a Gecko camera, built by Dragonfly Aerospace and owned by Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, is installed on board LICIACube.

In 2027, Dimorphos and Didymos will be visited by the European probe Hera. It will take a picture of the formed crater and conduct a comprehensive study of both small bodies. These data will complement the results of ground-based observations and help astronomers better understand the properties and evolution of binary asteroids.

You can also read about an interstellar meteorite that fell to Earth.

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