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Updated July 5th, 2022 at 17:11 IST

China eyes launching missions to Venus, asteroids & hunt Earth-like exoplanets by 2030

China has selected 13 new space missions which are targeted for launch by 2030 and involves hunting for exoplanets, observing the sun, and Venus exploration.

Harsh Vardhan
China
Image: NASA | Image:self
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The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), under its "New Horizons Program", has selected 13 new space missions which are targeted for launch by 2030. The 13 proposed missions involve the hunt for exoplanets, observations of the sun, and exploration of the moon and Venus, and between five to seven missions are expected to be chosen for launch, Space.com reported.

"The future development of space science needs urgent top-level planning and advanced layout to clarify the overall goal and investment portfolio from 2025 to 2030," a new paper in the Chinese Journal of Space Science read.

(China's lander and Yutu-2 rover; Image: NASA)

The missions selected by CAS 

The list of selected missions by the CAS includes three candidates under astrophysics and astronomy research. The first is the Enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry (eXTP)  to "study the state of matter under extreme conditions of density, gravity and magnetism" whereas the second Discovering the Sky at the Longest Wavelength (DSL) mission includes launching ten satellites to the lunar orbit. The third mission in this category - the Dark Matter Particle Explorer-2 (DAMPE-2) - would be a follow-up of the first mission in 2015 to find evidence of dark matter.

(China's Zhurong rover on Mars; Image; CNSA)

As for the hunt for exoplanets, the CAS has selected the Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES) mission wherein the China National Space Administration (CNSA) would observe 100 sun-like stars within 33 light-years of Earth and the planets orbiting them. The Earth 2.0 (ET) is the second mission for the same purpose, and this involves installing a seven-telescope instrument at the second Lagrange point and finding Earth-like planets in the habitable zone around their stars. 

The Chinese scientists are also looking to study other objects within our solar system. For Venus, the CAS has selected Venus Volcano Imaging and Climate Explorer (VOICE) mission to study the planet's geological and atmospheric processes. Interestingly, China is also planning an asteroid sample return mission with the E-type Asteroid Sample Return (ASR), wherein it will scrutinise the near-Earth asteroid 1989 ML and fetch its rock samples. Notably, the final selection of these missions will be complete by the end of 2022 and the launches would mark the beginning of China's 15th five-year plan spanning from 2026-2030.

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Published July 5th, 2022 at 17:11 IST

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