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China to launch new asteroid-deflection mission by 2025

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Beijing, April 26 (IANS) China has announced plans to build an asteroid monitoring and defence system, which will help address the threats of asteroids hitting Earth, media reports said.

According to China National Space Administration (CNSA) deputy head Wu Yanhua, the country aims to carry out a technical experiment as early as 2025 on a threatening asteroid by closely tracking and attacking it to change its orbit, Global Times reported.

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China will proceed to set up a near-Earth asteroid monitoring and defence system to deal with the threat of an asteroid impacting spacecraft, and contribute to protect the safety of the Earth and mankind, Wu said during an interview with the China Central Television.

The country will set up a ground-based and space-based monitoring and warning system for asteroids to catalogue and analyse asteroids that pose a threat to humanity’s space activities, and then relevant technology and engineering will be developed to dispel the threats.

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The CNSA is also developing a simulation software for possible impact from near-Earth asteroids and will organise rehearsals for the defence process to address the common threat and shouldering the responsibility as a major global power in safeguarding the Earth with other countries, Wu was quoted as saying Global Times.

The system is currently at the project establishment phase and being reviewed for approval, which involves the close coordination of multiple departments, the report said.

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Earlier this year, in January, a white paper published by Chinese officials mentioned plans to study a planetary defence system, and last October, the country also hosted a planetary defence conference. Even as the US and Russia are also building asteroid monitoring systems, China’s defence system could be an important supplement in addressing the threats of asteroids hitting Earth, Song Zhongping, a military expert and space observer, was quoted as saying.

“This is another practical solution that China proposes to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and it is the duty for a major space power to protect mankind from possible disasters that could end the entire human civilization,” Song said.

To deter a potential asteroid attack, China needs a carrier rocket with exceptionally large thrust, which would put the country in the front line of the world’s asteroid defence technology, said Li Mingtao, professor at the National Space Science Center under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

–IANS

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