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China to hold talks on building asteroid defence system

Context:

  • China will hold discussion on building a defence system against near-earth asteroids – China is stepping up efforts towards realizing its longer term space ambitions.
  • China has made space exploration a top priority in recent years, aiming to establish a programme operating thousands of space flights a year and carrying tens of thousands of tonnes of cargo and passengers by 2045.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology (Space technology, Developments in Science and Technology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What’s the difference between a Comet, Asteroid and Meteor?
  2. Where asteroids are located?
  3. International Lunar Research Station: Russia and China

What’s the difference between a Comet, Asteroid and Meteor?

  1. Asteroid: A relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.
  2. Comet: A relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.
  3. Meteoroid: A small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.
  4. Meteor: The light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star.
  5. Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands upon the Earth’s surface.
Comet vs Asteroid vs Meteoroid vs Meteor vs Meteorite | Asteroids and  meteoroids, Earth and space science, Meteor meteorite meteoroid

Where asteroids are located?

  • Most asteroids lie in a vast ring between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
  • Not everything in the main belt is an asteroid, for instance, comets have recently been discovered there, and Ceres, once thought of only as an asteroid, is now also considered a dwarf planet.
  • Many asteroids lie outside the main belt. For instance, a number of asteroids called Trojans lie along Jupiter’s orbital path.
  • Three groups — Atens, Amors, and Apollos — known as near-Earth asteroids orbit in the inner solar system and sometimes cross the path of Mars and Earth.

International Lunar Research Station: Russia and China

  • China and Russia have agreed to build a International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), possibly on the moon’s surface, marking the start of a new era in space cooperation between the two countries.
  • The ILRS is a comprehensive scientific experiment base with the capability of long-term autonomous operation.
  • The station would be built on the lunar surface and/or on the lunar orbit that would carry out scientific research activities such as the lunar exploration and utilization, lunar-based observation, basic scientific experiment and technical verification.
  • Russia and China will adhere to the principle of co-consultation, joint construction, and shared benefits.
  • They will facilitate extensive cooperation in the ILRS, open to all interested countries and international partners.
  • ILRS will strengthen scientific research exchanges, and promote humanity’s exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

-Source: The Hindu

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