China had announced in April that it was developing a system that would protect Earth from asteroids. It would include systems that monitor and neutralize objects that could pose a threat to the Earth. Now it is known that the 2026 mission to deflect an asteroid’s trajectory will be the first. Already, the corresponding object was selected.
Long Lehao (chief designer of China’s Long March Rocket series) gave the details of this mission in a lecture entitled “Science and Innovation in China”.
His presentation stated that the target for testing was the object 2020 PN1. China’s orbital workhorse, the Long March 3B rocket will carry out the launch. China uses the Long March-3B rocket to launch satellites into geostationary orbit. However, it was also used for lunar missions.
An impactor and an observer orbital car will be part of the mission to deflect an asteroid’s path. The first vehicle will collide with an asteroids, and the second will watch this happen. Asteroid 2020 PN1 has a diameter of approximately 40 meters. It is not currently believed to be a threat to the Earth. However, Chinese scientists are keen on testing the technology.