China wants to launch more than 20 rockets into space and divert the asteroid Bennu. For that, it’ll use Long March 5 rockets in what it might seem now, one of the most daring space missions ever planned.
Bennu is an 85.5-million-ton space rock, vast as the Empire State Building, that has 1 in 2,700 chances of striking our planet. Any collision with the Earth would bring our end.
Here is what you need to know.
China’s Ambitious Plan Will Save the World
Scientists at China’s National Space Science Center explained that 23 Long March 5 rockets pushing against Bennu simultaneously would finally divert the space rock away.
The plan includes a costly past proposal initially made by the US.
NASA came up with an asteroid killing plan dubbed HAMMER (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response) that’ll include a fleet of 9 meters (30-foot-tall) spacecraft to bump Bennu’s course.
As per NASA’s simulations, HAMMER would need to perform 34-53 blows 10 years before Bennu collides with Earth to fight off the asteroid.
Another mighty proposal, called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection), is a joint mission of NASA and the ESA.
The DART mission will launch a spacecraft to slam into Didymos’ moonlet (a space rock around Bennu). Then, ESA will use mission HERA to check up on DART.
Long March 5 Rockets: What to Expect
China’s Long March 5 rockets are part of a recent bold space program that makes most deliveries to China’s space stations and sends probes to the moon and Mars.
As mighty as these rockets could be, they have caused concern due to their uncontrolled re-entry to Earth. For example, back in 2020, some fragments from a March 5 rocket were believed to have wrecked two villages in the Ivory Coast.
If China can really develop a plan of destroying Bennu, chances to avoid a possible Armageddon become more positive.