China wants to send 23 rockets into space to deflect asteroid Bennu, which is approaching Earth

Last image of the asteroid Bennu taken by the OSIRIS-REx mission

In a decision that generates uncertainty in the world, China plans to send a score of rockets into space to try to deflect the trajectory of an asteroid which was baptized as Determining and it could hit the Earth in a few years. The celestial body would have the dimensions of the renowned American Empire State building, weighs 85.5 million tons and is 500 meters wide.

Bennu is a type B asteroid, with large amounts of carbon and potentially many of the primordial molecules present when life emerged on Earth, early research indicates. Long ago, NASA sent the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) looking for samples of that body. Scheduled to return to Earth in two years, OSIRIS-REx is already on its way to deliver the collected material.

For a couple of years, OSIRIS-REx studied the asteroid and provided clues about its rubble-heap-like consistency and its terrain that turned out to be much rockier and more rugged than initially expected from ground-based telescope observations.

Faced with Bennu’s threat, now the China National Center for Space Sciences reported that the trajectory of the asteroid could be deviated with the simultaneous impact of 23 rockets Long March 5. “Asteroid impacts pose a great threat to all life on Earth,” wrote Mingtao Li, a space science engineer at the National Center for Space Sciences in Beijing in LiveScience magazine and lead author of the study. “Diverting an asteroid on an impact path is essential to mitigate this danger,” he said.

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