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The competition heats up: China is considering an unmanned probe to visit three different asteroids, including Apophis.
According to details that have previously emerged, one proposal is for a launch via Long March 3B rocket to take place in early 2022, with rendezvous with Apophis a year later and spend 220 days in orbit.
Then the probe would depart Apophis for a flyby of 2002 EX11 in 2025, and finally landing on 1996 FG3 in 2027, where it would, in Ji’s words, “conduct in-situ sampling analysis on the surface”.
The proposal is only in the design stage, but it should definitely be taken seriously. China is committing more and more of its resources to its space program, as that program is giving that government a big payoff in international recognition.
Posted in the airport in Dallas, where I have to wait an extra three hours because American Airlines practically shut the door to my connecting flight in my face. Their flight from Belize was late, and then Customs and the TSA conspired to create giant lines for no reason. Even though I had a friend at the gate with whom we were in contact by text who could tell them I was only a minute away, they shut the door anyway.
I have avoided American for more than a decade because they did something as obnoxious to me before. I think it might be a decade before I fly them again.