Chinese scientists have found a way to land an asteroid on Earth
Posted On March 23, 2021
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Space agencies have successfully studied asteroids and comets near the planet several times, but the capture of one of them for further study directly on Earth has not yet been realized. A group of Chinese scientists wants to go further in their research: their ambitious plan involves not only capturing an asteroid, but also its descent to the Earth’s surface to study minerals.
It sounds pretty crazy at first glance, but researchers at the National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences say it’s possible. Researcher Li Ming Thao and his team presented the idea at a technology conference in Shenzhen. Lee says the mission could focus on asteroids that traverse Earth’s orbit. These asteroids are the most dangerous in the future..
Suitable asteroids for the project should weigh no more than a few hundred tons. The first step of the work is to launch robotic probes that could gain a foothold on the surface of a celestial body. The next step will be to change the trajectory and speed of its movement (for this, technical solutions used for taxiing and movement of spacecraft will be used). The problem is that small objects often explode when released into the atmosphere. Example — Chelyabinsk meteorite that exploded over Russia in 2013. It is she who will be solved with the help of new research..
The delivery of a meteorite body to Earth without an explosion requires the use of new solutions. Some of them are at a theoretical level. Further research may well make them practical. The probes will need to deploy a heat shield that could protect the meteorite from damage during its descent. The heat shield must have sufficient resistance to slow the object down to 44 km / h. At this speed, it should land on the surface of the Earth without serious damage..
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