20 rockets are being planned by Chinese scientists
Over 20 of China's biggest rockets will be sent to try diverting away from a massive asteroid, a method that might be vital if a deadly rock is on a crash path with Earth.
According to Reuters, the US will deploy a robotic spacecraft between late 2021 and early 2022 to capture two asteroids that are reasonably near to Earth. The NASA spacecraft will crash-land on the smaller of the two rocky bodies a year later to determine how much the asteroid's course alters.
In simulations at China's National Space Science Center, experts discovered that striking a big asteroid with 23 Long March 5 rockets at the same time might divert it by 1.4 times the Earth's radius.
Their estimates are based on Bennu, an asteroid circling the sun that is as broad as the Empire State Building and as tall as it is tall. It's part of a group of rocks that might inflict provincial or global harm. Asteroids with a diameter of more than one kilometer would have a worldwide impact.
The National Space Science Center China referenced recent research published in Icarus, a planetary science publication. Long March 5 rockets are critical to China's near-term space goals, which include anything from transporting space station components to sending missions to the Moon and Mars.
"The proposal of keeping the upper stage of the launch rocket to a guiding spacecraft, making one large 'kinetic impactor' to deflect an asteroid, is a rather nice concept," said Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast.
"By increasing the mass hitting the asteroid, simple physics should ensure a much greater effect. The actual operation of such a mission needs to be studied in greater detail," Fitzsimmons told Reuters.
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