China to target near-Earth object 2020 PN1 for asteroid deflection mission

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China plans to conduct a combination asteroid deflection and observation test mission in 2026 using the near-Earth object 202 PN1 as its target.

In a recent lecture for the "Science and Innovation China" series, Long Lehao

main designer of China's Long March rocket series, gave the fresh information regarding the near-Earth asteroid defence system demonstration and verification test mission

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The impactor mission will launch in 2026 on a Long March 3B rocket, according to a presentation Long provided

There will be an independent impactor and orbiter for the mission. The latter spacecraft will conduct observations while the former will collide with NEO 2020 PN1.

If this assumption is accurate, the mission appears to combine components of the separate NASA DART mission, which will collide with Dimorphos

a moon orbiting the near-Earth asteroid Didymos, in September, and the European Space Agency's Hera mission

Hera mission, which will observe Didymos and Dimorphos later this decade to assess the effects of the DART collision.

A temporary co-orbital companion to the Earth that will cross it in 2020 PN1 is the aim of China's test.

It was found in 2020, and measurements of its size place it at 40 metres or thereabouts in diameter.

In addition to geostationary orbital flights, the Long March 3B rocket has also launched lunar missions.

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