Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) Deputy Head Wu Yanhua told in an interview with PRC Central Television that in 2025-2026, China plans to test asteroid monitoring technologies, posing a threat to the Earth. To do this, a device will be sent into space to study an asteroid and try to change its trajectory.
The “kinetic impact” method
The program being created by China will make it possible to observe asteroids and other celestial bodies flying to Earth, from the closest possible distance. The specialists intend to create a number of ground-based and space-based systems that will inform in advance about all approaching objects. If a potential threat is detected, the asteroid's orbit will be adjusted or it will be destroyed, but how exactly this will be done has not yet been reported.
According to W Yanhua, work is still underway on the creation of technology, so he can disclose the details of the project. But the Chinese news agency Xinhua suggests that the “kinetic impact” method will be used to neutralize the asteroid: a special spacecraft will simply collide with it to destroy or deflect it to the side.
NASA decided to conduct a similar experiment last year. The Americans launched the DART probe into space (the abbreviation stands for “Experiment to” change the orbit of a double asteroid), which in the fall of this year will approach the asteroid Didim, located at a distance of 11 million kilometers from Earth, and crash into the satellite at a speed of 6.6 kilometers per second. As part of this experiment, NASA specialists want to learn how to change the trajectories of celestial bodies.
Some scientists believe that attacking asteroids with the aim of destroying them is impractical, because then many small ones will arise from one large object, which will increase the area of possible damage. “Therefore another idea is preferable — move the dangerous asteroid aside, change its orbit, — says senior researcher at the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergey Naroenkov. — For example, there are proposals to cover one side of the asteroid with white paint. The sun will heat it unevenly, and the trajectory will change. The project of a space tractor is promising: to land an apparatus on a celestial body, turn on the engines, and they will deflect it to the side».
When it was discussed how to protect the Earth from a possible collision with the asteroid Apophis (it will pass by our planet in April 2029), the public sometimes voiced unexpected ideas. One young American woman who won a student design competition suggested wrapping a “pebble” in film with high reflectivity. This should be done by a specially launched apparatus for Apophis. Under the pressure of sunlight, the asteroid will deviate and cease to pose a threat to the Earth and inhabitants.
“They have fallen, are falling and will fall”
But  ;a reasonable question arises: are do need such projects at all? How real is the asteroid threat? Indeed, at the moment, not a single celestial body that threatens the Earth is known. There was a lot of talk about the same Apophis, but now it is already clear that there will be no collision with .
“On” the surface of our planet, there are about 200 impact craters with diameters ranging from 15 to 300 kilometers. And how many falls over the entire history the World Ocean has taken upon itself is unknown, — Head of the Small Body Dynamics Group of the Solar System of the Solar System Research Department of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences Lidia Rykhlova argues. — The largest meteorite in history was discovered in 1920 in Namibia. This is a piece of iron of natural origin weighing 60 tons.
Small bodies have always fallen, are falling and will fall to Earth. And after all, the Earth is oversaturated with high-tech and vulnerable objects — such as dams, chemical plants, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste storage facilities, weapons arsenals, etc. Now they are completely defenseless against an asteroid that can cause a man-made disaster. So the threat to humanity has increased over time.
In interplanetary space there is a huge number of so-called small bodies of the solar system. Depending on the size and properties they are subdivided into interplanetary dust, meteoroids, asteroids and comets. Their orbits are mostly chaotic, and the speeds of movement relative to the Sun are tens of kilometers per second. Therefore, celestial bodies collide, break up and unpredictably change their orbits.
Any small bodies can approach Earth and fall on the Earth. Very small ones burn up in the atmosphere, larger ones explode without reaching the surface of the Earth, as was the case with the Chelyabinsk fireball in 2013. However, some of the celestial bodies reach the surface. Whether a body flies or burns in the atmosphere depends on many factors — its structure, size, speed, shape, etc.
The fall of a 50-meter fireball will cause a local catastrophe like the Tunguska one. With a body size of more than 100 meters, a catastrophe on a regional scale is possible. And if they are more than 1 kilometer — then global, planetary in nature. Fortunately, we don't know of asteroids of this size today. But there are enough potentially dangerous ones, ranging in size from 50 to 100 meters. Thanks to powerful telescopes, they are constantly being discovered. So monitoring services are needed, including in Russia».
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