China will send a space probe to study the near-Earth asteroid and comet

The sphere of interests of the PRC in the conquest of spaceexpands with each month. According to the Chinese news publication Xinhua, referring to representatives of the Chinese National Space Administration, China is preparing a new ambitious mission, whose task will be to study the new quasi-satellite of the Earth, the asteroid 2016 HO3 and comet 133P.

"The mission to explore the asteroids in the presentthe moment is at the development stage, the mission implies that during one launch it is planned to fly around the asteroid, land on its surface, collect samples and transfer them to Earth in the return module, ”said China’s lunar program deputy director Liu Jizhong.

According to Jizhong, all stages of preparation and implementation of the mission will take about 10 years. The deputy head of the lunar program of China did not name the specific start dates of the mission, but briefly described its stages.

To the near-earth asteroid 2016 HO3 is plannedsend a probe that will collect soil samples from the surface of a small celestial body. Then the spacecraft is planned to be returned to a near-earth orbit, where it will “unfasten” the returned module with the samples, while it will continue its work — it will fly to the asteroid belt and enter the 133P comet orbit, studying it. The latter, also referred to as “Elst-Pizarro”, is a prototype of the main belt comet and the object of the Solar System, which exhibits the characteristics of a comet and an asteroid at the same time.

Asteroid 2016 HO3 was discovered by the AmericanNASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2016. According to the results of ground-based studies of this small celestial body, the object temporarily occupies an orbit around our planet (appeared near us about a hundred years ago) and will leave it after about a few hundred years. The researchers note that the asteroid does not come closer to our planet closer than 38 distances from the Earth to the Moon, and therefore does not pose any danger.

Liu Jizhong added that in the implementation of the missionwill be able to accept not only Chinese private companies and various research organizations. It is planned to attract and foreign partners. The space probe will be able to take on board eight units of scientific equipment, including cameras, spectrometers and analyzers.

China is very keen to become a spacesuperpower. And for this, the Celestial Empire has already done a lot. For example, the first in history landed at the beginning of this year on the reverse side of the moon, the landing module and the lunar rover of the “Chang'e-4” mission. How they are doing in the present - you can read in one of our previous news. This mission of the People's Republic of China also carries out jointly with international partners. Holland, Sweden and Germany provide technical support and provide several scientific instruments for the device.

The final goal of the Chinese National Space Administration is the joint construction of a permanent base on the Earth satellite.

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