(ORDO NEWS) — China is making every effort to become a leading space power. The country recently launched the first rovers to the Moon and Mars and has almost built its own space station. Now China’s space agency has decided to join the race to find habitable exoplanets.
NASA constantly publishes data on planets discovered outside the solar system, today there are already more than 5000 of them. Earthlings receive data on exoplanets mainly thanks to the Kepler telescope. However, none of the discovered planets has yet fully met the definition of Earth 2.0.
China’s space agency hopes to be the first to discover a second Earth. The new project will be funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
It is currently in the early stages of development, and if all goes according to plan, the academy’s evaluation committee could give the green light for the satellite to be launched into space by 2026 aboard a Long March launch vehicle.
The Chinese satellite “Earth 2.0” will be designed to install seven telescopes, six of which will explore the constellation Cygnus-Lyre, which, by the way, was also observed by NASA’s Kepler telescope.
The Chinese satellite will be able to observe approximately 1.2 million stars in a 500-square-degree area of the sky, almost 5 times the field of view of Kepler.
Earth 2.0’s six main telescopes will find exoplanets by detecting dips in the brightness of stars, indicating that the planet is orbiting.
Earth 2.0’s seventh instrument will be a gravitational microlensing telescope, and will be used primarily to search for rogue planets that don’t orbit any star, as well as exoplanets that orbit far away from their own star.
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