china, cnsa, china national space administration, china asteroid deflection mission, nasa, russia

China’s National Space Administration is conducting its own asteroid deflection mission.

Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), made the announcement recently during this year’s Space Day in China.

Yanhua said that the country is planning to build an asteroid monitoring and defense system, and it hopes to conduct a technical experiment as early as 2025 on a potentially dangerous asteroid by closely tracking it and attacking it in order to change its orbit.

China’s Asteroid Deflection Mission

China, in addition to asteroid monitoring, is also working on developing an early warning system as well as simulation software to test basic procedures for its planetary defense technologies.

These announcements were made public during a press conference broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV), by CNSA deputy director Wu Yanhua.

Asteroid defense systems, the country believes, could be an important supplement in addressing the threat of asteroids hitting the Earth. And China’s asteroid defense system is another practical solution that the country is proposing to help build a community with a shared future for all of humanity.

Furthermore, Wu also added that following the establishment of a near-Earth asteroid monitoring and defense system to respond to the threat of an asteroid directly affecting a spacecraft, China will make further progress in order to contribute to protecting the safety of the Earth and mankind.

According to Space News, monitoring and warning system will be established on the ground and in space to classify and analyze asteroids that present a threat to humanity’s space activities. Then, relevant technology and engineering will be developed to eliminate the threats that will be implemented in the future.

China Asteroid Deflection Mission to Rival NASA?

China is lagging behind its rival space agency, NASA, in terms of technological advancement in asteroid exploration.

At the moment, the United States and Russia are both developing asteroid monitoring systems.

According to a military expert Song Zhongping stated, “This is another practical solution that China proposes to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and it is the duty for a major space power to protect mankind from possible disasters that could end the entire human civilization,” Song said.

As reported by The Verge, the concept appears to have been circulating for quite some time. According to a white paper published by the country’s government, China announced plans to study a planetary defense system in January, as well as to increase the capacity of near-earth object monitoring, cataloging, early warning, and response over the period 2021-2025.

On top of that, the country hosted its first Planetary Defense Conference, which included sessions, papers, and presentations on a variety of related issues, which took place last year in October 2021.

Aside from the CNSA planetary defense project that would also set up the software to simulate asteroid impacts, it will also focus its efforts on conducting drills to prepare for the possibility of an asteroid impact. Similar simulations have been conducted by NASA and the European Space Agency. As of the time being, China does not have a specific asteroid it plans to target.

NASA has its own asteroid-redirect mission, which launched in November and is currently in orbit. However, for the time being, the agency is not focusing on any potentially dangerous space rocks.

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is aiming for Didymos, a small moonlet of an asteroid that is about the size of a football field. On September 26, 2022, it will attempt to deviate the course of the space rock, which is named Dimorphos.

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