China is currently drafting a planetary defense plan that will aim to alter the orbit of a potentially threatening asteroid. The plan involves a kinetic impactor test that will help researchers develop new systems that could counter potential threats posed by asteroids close to Earth.
Wu Yanhua is the deputy director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), and spoke with China Central Television about the current research and future testing the administration is planning.
“CNSA will establish an early warning system and develop software to simulate operations against the near Earth objects and test and verify basic procedures. Finally, a mission will make close up observations of a selected potentially dangerous asteroid and then impact the target to alter its orbit.”
The mission is currently scheduled to occur around the end of 2025 or 2026 as a part of the administration’s five-year plan period (2021-2025/26), according to Yanhua.
Yanhua explained that the system would help scientists deal with the threat of near Earth objects to humanity, as well as provide a multitude of new research and technology for China to use in the future.
According to Yanhua, China “will study plans for building a near-earth object defense system, and increase the capacity of near-earth object monitoring, cataloging, early warning, and response over the 2021-2025 period.”
China is not alone in their efforts to create new technologies and systems that could help protect the Earth from potential asteroids and other space objects that could hurdle into our atmosphere.
NASA recently launched their Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in November. The spacecraft is meant to collide with a minor-planet moon known as Dimorphous which is currently orbiting near an Earth asteroid named Didymos. The test is set to be in September of this year.
The European Space Agency is also gearing up to send its Hera mission to Didymos and Dimorphous later in the decade after they examine the effects of the DART mission.
Overall, international space stations everywhere are aware that asteroids and other space objects near Earth pose a potential threat to humanity, so these new systems are integral to our planets safety in the coming decade.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.