China hatches plans to catch an asteroid
After becoming the world’s second biggest economy and creating probably the biggest trading network, China is now planning to up their game to the next frontier – literally. China is now hatching plans to catch an asteroid and mine it for precious materials that asteroids have been rumored to contain.
Mission being planned
China is developing plans to find, catch, land and then mine an asteroid within the near future. The hopes for this plan is to mine the asteroid for many special materials that asteroid have been rumored to contain . For instance, uranium that is rare to find is large quantities on earth – the reason being the element was deposited on earth by asteroid that hit our planet in its early years. Having an asteroid to supply such elements can give an incalculable boost to nuclear energy and the country’s economy. This alone, should give you a clear indication of the country’s motivation.
Chinese Space Program
The chief commander and designer of China’s lunar exploration program Ye Peijian told state media that the country plans to launch its first space craft within the next 3 years. The big picture of the space mission, is to includes using asteroids as a base for the eventual Chinese Space Station. This reveal however, is just the latest in the big space ambitions of the Chinese including plans to build a lunar base in collaboration with the European Space Agency.
The first stage of the mission would be to land a spacecraft on the asteroid and then using rockets to change its trajectory. If this succeeds, the asteroid could then be moved into the moon’s orbit thus, making the next step of mining the asteroid feasible. Just like similar plans announced by NASA – the Chinese are hopeful that the value of the elements mined from the asteroid will negate the cost of the mission. NASA is hopeful of traveling to an asteroid in the early 2020s, with two missions called Lucy and Psyche.
Adding credibility to these ambitious plans is the interest generated by private entities in the trillions of dollars that asteroids are expected to contain. In 2015, Barack Obama made it legal for private citizens to own celestial bodies – opening up the ability to for people to buy and own their asteroids.