China Announced Plans for an Asteroid-Deflecting Mission

China plans to launch a mission to alter the trajectory of a potentially dangerous asteroid. The test launch is scheduled for 2025-2026 as part of a larger all-planetary defense program.

China Announced Plans for an Asteroid-Deflecting Mission
Photo by Viktor Talashuk / Unsplash

China plans to launch a mission that will change the orbit of a potentially threatening asteroid. As part of the mission, the spacecraft will crash into an asteroid and change its trajectory, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, announced.

The destination for the mission has not yet been chosen, but the term ‚Äúpotentially threatening‚ÄĚ refers to a space object that has a chance, however small, of colliding with the Earth sometime in the future, although no direct threats have been identified.

The asteroid-deflecting mission is part of a larger all-planetary defense program being developed by China. It will catalog and monitor near-Earth asteroids, especially those that may threaten our planet.

As part of this program, Chinese scientists will also develop an early warning system and eventually identify an asteroid that can threaten Earth and send a spacecraft to change its orbit. The country is to conduct the first technical experiment in 2025-2026.

The Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) also plans to develop software to simulate possible asteroid impacts and run rehearsals of what to do if a potential impact happens.

NASA also launched a similar mission called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) in November, 2021. The spacecraft will hit Dimorphos with the spacecraft in order to alter its path and speed.