China is preparing to fire a space projectile at an asteroid

China is planning to launch an asteroid-destroying spacecraft to test the possibility of protecting the Earth from potentially dangerous asteroids. This is a test mission that researchers plan to complete by 2030. It will target an asteroid with a diameter of approximately 30 meters, known as 2015 XF261.

Collision with an asteroid. Illustration generated by PhotoLab Pro artificial intelligence

In an article published in the Journal of Deep Space Exploration, Chinese researchers describe that the spacecraft will consist of two parts: an observer and a projectile (impactor). The observer will reach the asteroid first and analyze it for three to six months. Then the projectile will crash into the asteroid, and the observer will record the moment of impact and study the consequences of this collision at a short distance from the target.

NASA is also conducting its own tests of the planetary defense system. In 2022, a collision with the asteroid Dimorphos occurred as part of the DART mission to change the trajectory of asteroids. This was the world’s first demonstration of planetary defense technology. After DART hit the asteroid, NASA scientists concluded that the collision did indeed change the asteroid’s orbit and shape, which showed the possibility of changing the asteroid’s trajectory.

Artificial animation of the DART collision with the asteroid Dimorphos. Illustration: ESA

To further protect the Earth, NASA is developing the NEO Surveyor space telescope, which is scheduled to be launched in June 2028. This telescope is designed to detect potentially dangerous space objects.

Currently, no known asteroid threatens the Earth. But scientists continue to work on space defense strategies. The joint work of various space agencies, including China, increases confidence in the safety of our planet, despite international tensions between countries.

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