China to launch an asteroid deflection mission in 2025 – but is it safe?

by | Apr 25, 2022 | China, Science

As part of its planetary defence strategy, China plans to launch an asteroid impactor mission to deflect the orbit of a near-Earth asteroid.

The test mission, as reported by SpaceNews (Andrew Jones), will make close-up observations of a selected, potentially dangerous, asteroid and then create an impact in order to alter its orbit. However, the experiment, does carry a very small risk of altering the orbit enough to inadvertently increase its chance of hitting the Earth.

NASA’s similar DART (Double Asteroid Redirect Test) mission poses a much smaller risk to the Earth because it targets an object orbiting another asteroid far away from Earth. NASA launched its DART mission towards the asteroid moon Dimorphos in November last year. It is expected to collide with the asteroid at circa 6 km/s in late September/early October of this year with the aim of deflecting its orbit. Importantly, Dimorphos’s orbit is around another asteroid, Didymos, and thus, while it is expected to be changed after the impact, it will remain around Didymos.

Comment by David Todd: We can only hope that an unintentional mishap does not happen on China’s asteroid redirection test mission which is, in fact, a kind of asteroid “pool shot” involving Newtonian mechanics. While the risk is very low – probably infinitesimal – experiments can, and do, go wrong and the question is whether the risk/reward ratio is worth it? As it is, from bitter experience, this writer can tell you that whenever he plays pool or snooker, his Newtonian shots often go wrong.


The movie Meteor (1979) used nuclear weapons to destroy a Meteor. But deflection would work better if enough warning is given. Courtesy: American International Pictures

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochinaFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 525virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekaressoyuzIGTInternational Space StationRocket LabBeidouawardsBlue OriginspaceStarlinkSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonboeingAirbus DSISROCargo Return VehiclemarsblogresearchOneWebspaceshiptwojaxaorionmarsimpactdelayhyperbolaEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegabarack obamaconstellationSEStourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightnode 2fundedIntelsatRaymond Lygo2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiomissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbittestinternetLong March 2D/2sts-122Ariane 5Northrop GrummanSLSChina Manned Space EngineeringElectronflightspace tourism2010cotsnewspapermissile defensegalileospaceportExpress AMU 1Long March 4Cbuildspace stationaltairsoyuz 2-1aProton Minternational astronautical congressshuttlespace shuttleEuropean Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosIntelsat 23scaled compositesnew yorkrulesAriane 6hanleybudgetatvVietnamshenzhoucongressMojaveboldenLong March 2COrbital ATKInmarsatcnesnew shepardiaclunar landerGuiana Space CenterkscApollolawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BKuaizhou 1AILSprotonUS Air ForceTalulah RileydarpaElectron KSFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Vega CeuAstriumSkylonpicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatNorth KoreaSSLAprilSNC50thinterviewLong MarchSea LaunchfalconWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor