A senior government space scientist said China was considering mounting a mission to “capture” an asteroid and try to fire it into the moon’s orbit within a decade, state media reported.
The ultimate aim would be to mine the asteroid for metal and minerals, or use it as the base for a space station.
Ye Peijian, chief commander and designer of China’s lunar exploration programme, said at a meeting of space authorities in Beijing this week that the nation’s first batch of asteroid exploration spacecraft would probably be launched in about 2020, according to state media reports.
Asteroids roam throughout our solar system, ranging in size from a metre to hundreds of kilometres across. Some cross close to Earth’s orbit, sometimes dangerously so.
Many near-Earth asteroids contain a high concentrations of precious metals, Ye told the Science and Technology Daily, a newspaper run by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology…. see more