China unveils project for telescope to search for Earth’s twins

(ORDO NEWS) — China has completed the preliminary design of its new Earth 2.0 space observatory, which could go into space in 2025-2026.

It is expected that in 4 years of work, with the help of seven telescopes, it will find many planets very similar to Earth in the habitable zone of sun-like stars, according to the website of the journal Nature.

The first discovery of exoplanets took place in 1992; to date, astronomers have found almost 9 thousand candidates for exoplanets and more than 5 thousand similar objects of various types have been confirmed.

A huge role in their discovery was played by space telescopes such as Kepler, COROT and TESS, which search for exoplanets using the transit method, or CHEOPS, which explores already discovered objects.

Despite the development of observational means, the search for small planets around large stars is still a difficult task. Particularly interesting and important is the task of searching for Earth-like planets located in the habitable zone of stars similar to the Sun.

In April 2022, the PRC announced the completion of the early design phase of the Super Kepler or Earth 2.0 mission. It will be funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences if it passes peer review this June, and could be launched into low-Earth orbit on a Long March rocket by the end of 2026.

The estimated life of the device is 4 years, during which time the observatory will observe about 1.2 million stars located in the sky in the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra, which was previously the subject of research by the Kepler telescope.

However, the area of ​​the new research field will be 500 square degrees, which is about 5 times larger than the field of view of the Kepler telescope. It is worth noting that Earth 2.0 will be able to observe dimmer and more distant stars that are available to the TESS telescope.

Seven telescopes will be installed aboard Earth 2.0: six will search for planets using the transit method, and the seventh using the gravitational microlensing method.

It is expected that during the work of the observatory will be able to, at least, find more than 10 bodies very similar to the Earth, and determine the frequency of occurrence of such objects, as well as find rogue planets.


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