When Armageddon was released in 1998, the option of avoiding the approach of an asteroid to the Earth seemed unlikely if it was not a fiction. If one of these objects gets close enough to collide, you will have no choice but to cross your arms lest it be too devastating.
However, over time, the POT and the European Space Agency (ESA) have designed projects to detect and prevent such approaches should they occur.
Currently, the most advanced company is NASA, which has started its first experiment with the launch of the mission dart. But China could soon join her on a similar mission; which, if it gets all the necessary permissions, could launch in 2025.
According to Global Times, this new mission was announced last Sunday, April 24, by the deputy director of the China National Space Administration, Wu Yanhua. In the same announcement, he made it clear that they have yet to choose which asteroid to target, but have been looking for one that could pose a threat to Earth.
They will find a way to redirect it, but they will also design a warning system that could join those already being implemented by other space agencies.
Still they have not received the necessary permits. However, if all goes according to plan, China may have its own DART mission. The truth is that an asteroid collision with Earth is highly unlikely; but, given the danger it presents, the more projects that are prepared to prevent it, the better.
Missions that are hunting for possible asteroids close to Earth
NASA and ESA have been compiling a list of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) throughout the years. Is about celestial bodies whose orbits will pass close to the planet where humans dwell at some point in the future. When it comes to proximity, it is of course astronomical.
But it is not because they pass that they represent a real danger. In fact, these lists also include the probability of an effect, which is usually very low. Even so, it is very important to continually review and update it.
If at some point a large NEO with a high probability of impact is discovered, there are several options. The first thing is evacuate the impact zone, but logically this is not the most desirable. Also, if it were a particularly large asteroid, this evacuation would be pointless. That is why projects such as NASA’s DART have been carried out.
This is a ship, launched last November, with the goal of going to an asteroid that doesn’t actually pose a danger to Earth and deflecting it as an experiment. It will reach its goal in October 2022. Then, in the fall of 2024, the Hera observer will launch in the same direction, with the aim of analyzing the impact of DART on the asteroid.
Something like this would be what China is planning, although they are still searching for the perfect asteroid for their first feature.
These are China’s plans
China has been developing model plans for NASA and ESA for some time. In fact, according to The Verge, A conference on planetary defense was held in the country last October.
That would be the next step. An approach that the China National Space Administration intends to demonstrate can self-regulate the NASA process.
However, although this has already started, China will still have to wait for its project to pass the corresponding controls. If everything goes fine, could launch in 2025. Currently, the list of near-Earth objects does not include any asteroids that pose a great danger in the coming years, so there doesn’t seem to be anything to worry about.
Can a new one suddenly appear? Yes, but the odds are low. There is scope, both for NASA, ESA and for China.