Chinese researchers want to launch more than 20 of China’s largest rockets, which will miss an asteroid – which will eventually become important if a killer rock is in the process of colliding with Earth.
More of an idea than science fiction. From late 2021 to early 2022, the United States launches a robotic spacecraft to intercept two asteroids that are relatively close to Earth.
A year later, the NASA spacecraft will fall small on two rock bodies and see how much the meteorite’s trajectory changes. This is mankind’s first attempt to change the course of a celestial body.
At China’s National Space Science Center, researchers found in simulations that a large asteroid could be orbited 1.4 times the Earth’s radius from its original orbit when 23 Long March 5 rockets hit simultaneously.
Their calculations are based on an asteroid called Pennu, which orbits the sun, which is the height of the Empire State Building. It belongs to a type of rock that has the potential to cause regional or continental damage. Asteroids spread over 1 km will have global effects.
The Science Center cited a recent study published in the journal Icarus on Planetary Science.
The long March 5 rockets are important to China’s nearby space aspirations – from delivering space station blocks to launching explorations to the moon and Mars. China has successfully launched six Long March 5 rockets since 2016, the last time its defense remnants brought back into the atmosphere in May, causing some security concerns.
“It’s a good idea to have the upper stage of the missile rocket in the guiding spacecraft, creating a huge ‘kinetic impact’ to orbit an asteroid,” said Alan Fitzsimmons, a professor at the Center for Astronomical Research at Queen’s University Belfast.
“By increasing the mass of the asteroid, simple physics must ensure greater effect,” Fitzsimmons said. ReutersHowever, he said the actual functioning of such work needs to be examined in more detail.
Gareth Collins, a professor at Imperial College London, said current estimates put the chances of a 100-meter-wide asteroid hitting Earth in the next 100 years.
“The magnitude of Pennu’s conflict is about 10 times less,” Collins said.
Changing the orbit of an asteroid poses a lower risk than the explosion of a rock by nuclear explosives, which scientists say could create smaller fragments without changing their course.