China unveils ambitious space projects

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 16:34

Beijing: China will launch several space projects, including a hard X-ray telescope for black hole studies, between 2014 and 2016, a Chinese academic announced Wednesday.

Su Dingqiang, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, announced this at the opening ceremony of the International Astronomical Union`s 28th General Assembly, the China Daily reported.

Su, a former president of the Chinese Astronomical Society, revealed some details regarding the hard x-ray modulation telescope (HXMT), China`s first space telescope.

The hard X-ray band is a key waveband for high-energy astrophysics studies.

Hard X-rays originate mostly from regions close to black holes and have high penetrative power, making them important tools for studying physical processes in extreme conditions, such as high matter density and high energy density, the daily said.

Su said China will develop another satellite, the dark matter particle explorer (DAMPE), to help detect high-energy electrons and gamma rays, as well as a telescope to study the solar magnetic field and a Sino-French joint mission to study gamma ray bursts.

Su said Chinese scientists were also planning to establish an Antarctic astronomical observatory.

An Antarctic Survey Telescope (AST) was installed there at the beginning of the year and another AST will be installed in 2013, said Cui Xiangqun, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

China`s first Antarctic telescope was installed in 2009.

Chinese space exploration has developed rapidly in the past decade, China Daily said.

Some large-scale astronomical projects in China, including the Large Sky Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) completed in 2008 and the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) to be completed in 2016, have drawn global attention.

The ongoing conference is the first of its size to be held in China.

IANS



First Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 16:34

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