China to explore asteroids and comets in the upcoming mission
Following the successful landing of its spaceship Chang'e 4 on the other side of the Moon earlier this year, China plans to expand its space program by exploring an asteroid and a comet within the next three years.
China's state-run news agency Xinhua wants China's space program to explore the near-Earth asteroid (2016 HO3) and an asteroid belt comet (133P).
Liu Jizhong, Director of Lunar The National Space Agency Exploration and Space Program Center said the entire mission would take about ten years, although it is still under discussion.
CHINA SUCCESSFUL LANDS SPACECRAFT ON THE WIDE PAGE OF THE MOON, STATE MEDIA SAYS
Assuming that it comes to realization, a probe will be sent to 201
6HO3, samples collected and then with a Return capsule, which returns the samples, returned to earth Sun holding it is a constant companion of the earth. (Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech) "/>
Asteroid 2016 HO3 has an orbit around the Sun that holds it as a permanent companion of the Earth. (Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)
Asteroid 2016 HO3, discovered in 2016, is orbiting the Sun, making it possible to remain a "permanent companion of the Earth," as NASA's JPL previously explained. Although it is too far away to be considered a true satellite, it is referred to as a "quasi-satellite," the space agency added.
The comet 133P is another type of comet that sits in the main belt of its composition. It has "an asteroid belt body" and has shown "comet-like activity" in the past, according to Space.com.
It's also possible that 133P is an "active asteroid," the news agency added, much like the asteroid Bennu currently being researched by NASA's OSIRIS-REx probe.
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