Space agencies are hiding something from us? NASA and ESA are preparing for a mission to bomb an asteroid that threatens our planet, and now it turns out that the Chinese have similar plans. Do we have anything to fear?
Recently, NASA conducted a simulation of an asteroid hitting our planet. The experiment showed that it would be better for civilization as a whole if astronomers or governments did not reveal information about the impending disaster to the public until the last minute. The biggest problem here is that if people find out about the asteroid and panic, it will just miss Earth by a hair’s breadth. Then riots will break out all over the world, which could lead to a bigger disaster than the asteroid impact itself.
Therefore, we can be sure that astronomers will not tell us which asteroid actually threatens us. Back to China. The Chinese government is planning to send a space mission, during which an unusual experiment will be carried out. Well, Chinese scientists want to see if it will be possible to change the trajectory of an asteroid if it is on a collision course with our planet.
Scientists want to bombard the space rock with as many as 23 Long March 5 rockets, the most popular vehicle in China’s space program today. This rocket took part in sending the Chang’e-5 probe mission to the Moon, launching the first module of the large Tiangong space station and delivering the first ever Zhurong rover to Mars.
The Middle Kingdom has chosen the asteroid Bennu as its target. And there would be nothing unusual in it, if not for the fact that the same object has been interested in NASA for several years. We recall that last year the American probe OSIRIS-REx took samples of rocks from the surface of this mysterious asteroid. They will reach Earth in 2023, and then they will go to laboratories, where scientists will check what we are really dealing with.
The asteroid Bennu will potentially pose a threat to our planet in the year 2135. The probability that Bennu will collide with Earth then is only 1:2700, but despite this fact, apparently astronomers are not downplaying the whole situation because when it comes to space rocks, nothing is really certain until the end.
Bennu is a 560 metre diameter space rock that weighs 70 million tonnes, travels at a speed of 28 km/s, circles the Sun every 437 days and is on a collision course with Earth, approaching us every 6 years. Its impact on our planet would cause an explosion of 1.15 gigatons of TNT, about 23 times larger than the largest hydrogen bomb explosion.
If such a monstrous vision comes true, it will keep astronomers awake at night. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that both the Americans and the Chinese are thinking more and more seriously about creating a technology that will allow us to effectively neutralize such objects. NASA plans to bomb the asteroid Didymos next year as part of the DART mission. It will then be located about 11 million kilometers from Earth. As for China, so far there is no information about the launch date of the mission.