China plans defense mission to prevent near-Earth asteroid threat

A launch ceremony for China Space Day was held in Hefei, east China’s Anhui Province, April 24, 2023. (Xinhua/Huang Bohan)

HEFEI, 26 April Bolong. Id, Xinhua — China plans to conduct a demonstration test of a near-Earth asteroid defense (near-Earth asteroids/NEA) first to be able to approach an asteroid for close observation before impacting the asteroid to change its orbit around 2030, according to a leading expert in the country’s space industry.

Chen Qi, head of the Systems Research Institute at China’s Deep Space Exploration Laboratory, said that China aims to carry out a kinetic impact on an asteroid around 2030, so as to change the asteroid’s orbit between 2030 and 2035, and hopes to have the basic capability to control the orbit. asteroids in 2045.

Deep space exploration expert (deep space) China, including Chen, unveiled a roadmap (roadmap) defense of the NEA at the International Deep Space Exploration Conference, organized by the Deep Space Exploration Laboratory in Hefei.

NEA’s potential impact on Earth poses a grave threat to humanity’s long-term sustainable development, and defense technology research and development is an important initiative to promote the building of a community with a shared future for humanity in outer space, Chen added.

In 2022, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) issued an action plan that clearly stated the upgrade of NEA’s monitoring, warning and defense systems.

During the same conference, China’s Deep Space Exploration Laboratory also launched a global campaign to compile the overall plan, name and logo for China’s first demonstration test of the NEA defense mission, as well as proposals for future missions.

According to Chen, the Chinese experts also set out some conditions for the proposal. For example, a collision with an asteroid must not pose a threat to Earth. The target asteroid must not be too far away, and can be observed with telescopes on Earth.

“We are willing to forge extensive cooperation with our international counterparts to jointly develop payloads, conduct joint observations on Earth globally, and share scientific application data,” Chen added. Finished

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