China is stepping up its planetary defense program.
And there’s more to the story.
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) will attempt to redirect the orbit of an asteroid by slamming a spacecraft into it. This is according to Wu Yanhua, the agency’s deputy director, who told China Central Television (CCTV).
The mission is one part of CNSA’s new planetary defense strategy, designed to preempt a potentially devastating asteroid impact in the future.
If you have watched “Don’t Look Up,” you might exactly know the type of situation the CNSA is worried about.
In addition to the threat of an asteroid collision, spacefaring is essential as the cosmos might be the next stop for resource extraction.
China is bolstering its space game as part of a larger trend that sees several countries around the world increasing their space exploration efforts.
- Since 2000, the number of satellite launches, for instance, has steadily increased again (after slowing down for almost three decades between 1970 and 2000).
- In 2020 and 2021, the numbers skyrocketed to never-seen-before levels.
- In 2020 alone, SpaceX launched 780 Starlink satellites.
Why is this generation-defining?
Space is the final frontier of human exploration.
Since time immemorial, humans have gazed upon the stars and wondered about distant objects beyond their reach.
This curiosity led to space observations and, subsequently, to space explorations.
Categorizing “saving the world from an asteroid hit” as potentially generation-defining is an understatement. The ability to move an extraplanetary body and affect its trajectory across the stars is the stuff of science fiction.
If a large enough asteroid were to strike Earth, it could theoretically wipe out humanity.
Undoubtedly, this technological pursuit impacts us all, no pun intended.