China has announced its plan to test its asteroid monitoring and defense system that will attempt to alter the paths of space rocks as early as 2025.
Wu Yanhua, the deputy director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), revealed the plan during an event that celebrated China’s seventh national space day in Wenchang, Hainan Province, on Sunday. The event also marked the 52nd anniversary of the launch of Dongfanghong-1, China’s first satellite.
Speaking to Global Times, mission insiders shared that the system, which is currently in its project establishment phase, is being reviewed by several different departments for approval.
Without elaborating on the specifics, Wu said CNSA plans to test this system by launching a spacecraft known as a kinetic impactor in the direction of an asteroid in 2025 or 2026 to alter the space rock’s original path.
CNSA is also developing simulation software that will test and verify operations against any near-Earth objects. China plans to set up a combination of ground-based and space-based monitoring and warning systems that will analyze any asteroids that pose potential threats to Earth.
The idea to launch a near-Earth object defense system has been floating around in China for years. In October 2021, the East Asian country held its first Planetary Defense Conference. In January, it released a space white paper that gave details about its defense system project and its ability to monitor, catalog and respond to near-Earth objects.
In addition to China, the U.S. and Russia are developing their own asteroid monitoring and defense systems to prepare for any potential planetary threats, military expert and space observer Song Zhongping told The Global Times. In November 2021, NASA launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which it said is the first-ever “full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards.”
Feature Image via Pixabay (Representation purposes only)