China to explore deep space
Beijing, Oct 2 (IANS) China will set up its own deep space communication network in three to five years which will help in the exploration of the solar system, a top scientist has said.
With the new system, which includes a network of large antennae and communication facilities to support interplanetary missions and astronomical observations by radio and radar, “there will be no problem for China to carry out an exploration of the solar system”, said Qian Weiping, chief designer of Chang’e-2 mission’s tracking and control system.
He said that Chang’e-2, China’s second lunar probe which was launched Friday, will test the X-spectrum telemetry, tracking and control system, a key technology in the deep space network, according to China Daily.
“If the test succeeds, it means we have mastered the technology of using the X-spectrum to fulfil functions like orbit determination and the remote control of spacecraft in deep space,” he said. “With this technology, we only need to build larger antennae to explore planets in deep space.”
As part of the network, two ground tracking stations with large antennae are currently under construction in the country - one in Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and the other in Jiamusi in Heilongjiang province, the scientist said.
Deep space usually means 1.5 million km from the earth, said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration programme.
He said since the moon is 400,000 km away from the earth and there is no large celestial body between 400,000 km and 1.5 million km, the new lunar mission is considered as the starting point for the exploration of deep space.
According to Wu, the technology used in the lunar mission can be applied in exploring other planets including Mars and Venus.
“So it would be possible for us to explore Mars and Venus in the foreseeable future, as the two planets are the closest to the earth,” he said.