23 Long March 5 rockets may work together to remove asteroid Bennu from its collision course with Earth.
Peking (China). Gareth Collins of Imperial College London has calculated that there is about a one percent chance that a hundred meters will be taller in the next hundred years. small star will hit the earth. According to forecasts, the risk of a large asteroid like Bennu (500 meters in diameter) hitting Earth during this period is 0.1 percent. An asteroid greater than a kilometer in size would have global consequences for the planet.
About 150 new asteroids are discovered near Earth every month. The data for the so-called Near Earth Objects (NEOs) now includes about 20,000 objects. astronomy But admits that many smaller asteroids are yet to be identified. Among other things, the impact of the Chelyabinsk meteorite (20 m in diameter) in 2013 suggests that these objects also pose a high risk.
Asteroid Defense with Missiles
For this reason, various space travel nations are now working on ways to protect against asteroids, including China. Its National Space Science Center has recently been investigating how asteroid Bennu might be deflected from its course. This 23 Long March 5. up to a simulation would be possible missileWhich collided with the asteroid and thus changed its path.
This object was chosen because it is on the list of potentially dangerous asteroids that will approach Earth in the next 150 years. estimated impact risk Science but still very little
Missiles as “kinetic effectors”
“The proposal to convert the upper stage of a launcher into a lead rocket to deflect an asteroid is a very cool concept,” said Alan Fitzsimmons, of the Astrophysics Research Center at Queen’s University Belfast, on Chinese simulations. Research agrees that so-called “kinetic effectors” are the only way to change an asteroid’s orbit.
The rocket will shoot the asteroid from its previous trajectory like a billiard ball. According to Fitzsimmons, the increase in mass triggered by the rockets when they hit the asteroid would be enough for this. However, so far this has been only a theoretical approach, the implementation of which is yet to be planned. Destroying asteroids on their collision course with Earth, on the other hand, should not be a suitable means, as it would only break an asteroid into separate parts, which would then collide with Earth individually.