China will destroy a near-Earth asteroid

The details of this mission were recently revealed by the chief designer of the Long March family of space rockets, Long Lehao. He said that with the help of the “Changzheng-3V” launch vehicle, an impact vehicle and an orbiting satellite will be launched into outer space, which will record the progress of the mission.

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How China will shoot down an asteroid

It should be immediately noted that this is not about the destruction of the object, but only about changing the path of movement. It is assumed that the attacker will collide with the asteroid PN1 in 2020, and the satellite will collect data and record the consequences of the incident, after which it will transmit them to Earth.

The CNSA project is similar to the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission currently underway by NASA in the United States. This fall, NASA’s 550-kilogram spacecraft will collide with a system consisting of the two asteroids Didyma and Dimorphus. It will crash into one of them at about 24,000 km/h to try to change the asteroid’s trajectory.

Could asteroids really be dangerous to Earth?

Despite decades of careful searching and observation of space, NASA and other space agencies around the world have yet to discover a single asteroid that poses a real danger to our planet. The term “potentially dangerous asteroid” is quite complicated, since it includes a set of characteristics of space rocks, the orbit of which makes it possible to approach the Earth at a potentially dangerous distance.

Usually, in practice, these are objects that fly past the Earth at a considerable distance and in fact do not pose a threat to our planet. At the same time, this does not mean that such asteroids will not be discovered in the future. And when we find them, we must protect ourselves from them.

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NASA explores the doomsday asteroid

The US probe OSIRIS-REx was successfully launched into orbit around the asteroid Bennu (1999 RQ36) in September 2016 as part of a mission to rendezvous and collect samples from its surface. Until recently, the asteroid Bennu itself was considered one of the greatest cosmic threats to life on Earth.

Recall that the probe reached the celestial body in early December 2018 and managed to collect soil samples from the object. Currently, the device is moving towards the Earth and in 2023 will release a capsule with samples on its surface, which scientists will study.

Although the transportation of Bennu samples is ongoing, NASA specialists have already managed to scan and even study them from a distance thanks to the capabilities of the device. The study of asteroid samples will help to understand how the structure of the primary matter of the solar system changes under the influence of the solar wind and cosmic rays.

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