tirsdag 24. mai 2022

China Wants to Search for Habitable Planets to 'Expand Our Living Space'

China wants to start hunting down habitable exoplanets with a dedicated satellite with a view to "expand our living space" within the cosmos. The proposed mission will be the first to search for habitable planets beyond our solar system with a space-based telescope. The project, named the Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES) would make use of a space telescope with a 3.9 foot aperture that would be placed in a point in space not far from Earth known as the L2 point, the same location as NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope, Chinese state-run news outlet CGTN reported on Thursday.

China is currently in the process of expanding its space program, having announced an ambitious five year plan in a report released in January. This included plans to explore the boundary of the solar system.

The CHES telescope would then explore around 100 stars similar to the sun at a distance of around 32 light years. The scientists who have proposed the project hope that around 50 Earth-like exoplanets—planets located outside of the solar system—could be discovered in habitable zones around their host stars.