Chinese intend to knock off course asteroid Bennu, collision with which threatens Earth

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Chinese intend to knock off course asteroid Bennu, collision with which threatens Earth
Chinese intend to knock off course asteroid Bennu, collision with which threatens Earth
8 July, 18:24TechnologyPhoto: The Science Times
Experts from the National Center for Space Sciences of China announced plans to simultaneously launch 23 Long March 5 rockets into space. The rockets are to strike the asteroid Bennu, which threatens the Earth, and change its trajectory.

Asteroid Bennu is a celestial body in the form of a spinning top, 492 meters wide. In 2175-2199, it will approach the Earth at a distance of 7.5 million kilometers, and the probability of its collision with our planet will be 1 in 2700. These figures allow scientists to classify Bennu as a "potentially dangerous" object.

Chinese scientists believe that the simultaneous impact of 23 Long March 5 missiles, each weighing about 900 tons, could knock Bennu off course by 9,000 kilometers, according to The Science Times. Such a deviation, almost one and a half times the radius of the Earth, can be significant and help to avoid an apocalyptic collision.

To knock such a large asteroid off its course requires a tremendous amount of energy. The use of nuclear explosions seems to be the most obvious, but in this case the asteroid can disintegrate into separate pieces, which will also collide with the Earth. According to Chinese experts, this idea can also be discarded because in the next ten years technologies will appear that will make it possible to defend against large asteroids without using the energy of a nuclear explosion.

By the way, Long March 5 - these are the very missiles, one of which made an uncontrolled entry into the Earth's atmosphere in May this year and threatened to fall into residential areas before safely falling apart over the Indian Ocean.

China isn't the only country working on asteroid bouncing projects. NASA is developing its project using a spacecraft as a kinetic or nuclear impactor, HAMMER ("hammer") - an acronym for Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response ("Mission of rapid response to mitigate the action of ultrafast asteroids)." Modeling by American scientists has shown that 34-53 impacts are enough to deflect the asteroid on a different course, if they are inflicted 10 years before Bennu's collision with the Earth. NASA's OSIRIS-REX spacecraft, which landed on Bennu last year and took samples of minerals and soil from its surface, is due to return in 2023.

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