Forget NASA’s DART mission, China gunning for dangerous asteroid too

    After Nasa’s DART mission, China has revealed it will be crashing its spacecraft into an asteroid too.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Oct 07 2022, 14:32 IST
    NASA: DART Mission set to DEFLECT giant asteroid
    Asteroids
    1/5 Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don't Look Up have always explored the ‘What Ifs’ of world destruction. Now, NASA is set to defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids. (Pixabay)
    DART mission
    2/5 The DART mission will cost a staggering $240 million. The aim of the mission is to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. While this asteroid in no way threatens Earth, the NASA asteroid mission is to carry out an experiment to gain greater knowledge as to what happens when a craft is crashed against a space rock. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash against the Earth. It will help avert an Armageddon on Earth and perhaps, even save humanity from extinction. (NASA)
    Asteroid and Earth
    3/5 According to Financial Times, chief scientist at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Andy Cheng, came up with the DART concept along with a senior researcher. Dr. Cheng said, “It feels very exciting — like a dream come true — for something we’ve been thinking about for 20 years to be actually happening." (Pixabay)
    Asteroid
    4/5 The DART mission has already sent the main spacecraft to space in November, 2021. It includes a satellite made by the Italian Space Agency. Another spacecraft is set to launch by 2026, to measure the impact. (NASA)
    Asteroid
    5/5 NASA said, "DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid’s motion in space through kinetic impact." (Pixabay)
    NASA
    View all Images
    China is targetting an asteroid of its own after NASA’s DART success. (AFP)

    After NASA's DART spacecraft successfully slammed into its target asteroid, China too is planning to save Earth from dangerous asteroids. it will conduct its own planetary defence test in 2025. The China National Space Agency is aiming to alter the orbit of a potentially dangerous asteroid by using a kinetic impactor test just the way NASA did a few days back. It is drafting a planetary defence plan by conducting technical studies and research into developing systems to counter the threats caused by near Earth asteroids, said Wu Yanhua, deputy director CNSA in a conversation with China Central Television (CCTV).

    Notably, China is even developing a combined asteroid sample-return mission. The mission will reportedly target Earth's quasi-satellite Kamoʻoalewa to deliver samples to Earth.

    The mission is scheduled to be conducted around the end of the 14th Five-year plan period i.e, 2021-2025 or in 2026, Wu shared the details at China's seventh national space day event in Wenchang, Hainan province.

    He also added that the system will help to protect humanity from potentially threatening near-earth objects. China conducted its first Planetary Defence Conference in October 2021.

    Meanwhile, NASA conducted its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) successfully on September 26. The spacecraft slammed into the target asteroid Dimorphous, a minor-planet moon orbiting the near Earth asteroid Didymos. Launched in November 2021, DART has looked to deflect the asteroid by using kinetic impact. LICIACube, the tiny Italian spacecraft that flew along with DART, captured the impact and it showed a large fireworks-like plume coming off the target asteroid after DART had slammed into it while the cloud of rocks and other debris spread quickly, like a giant puff of smoke. James Webb and the Hubble telescope too had captured the after effects of DART.

    Additionally, the European Space Agency will also send its Hera mission to Didymos and Dimorphous later in the decade to study the after effects of the DART mission impact. 

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    First Published Date: 07 Oct, 14:16 IST
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