China’s first large space telescope is expected to start scientific operations around 2024 at the China Space Station, according to the country’s manned space program.
The Chinese Survey Space Telescope, also known as the Chinese Space Station Telescope (CSST), or Xuntian (meaning “survey to heavens” in English) Space Telescope, is a space-based optical observatory for astronomers to carry out sky surveys, capturing a general map or images of the sky.
It will have a nominal mission lifetime of 10 years, which could be extended in principle.
As the optical cabin of China Space Station, whose construction is expected to be completed before the end of 2022, the Xuntian has an aperture of two meters and state-of-art detectors. It is a bus-sized facility, weighing more than 10 tonnes, with a length equal to that of a three-story building.
Developing prototype sample of Xuntian
According to Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China is developing the prototype sample of Xuntian with progress already made in the preliminary development process.
“The Xuntian Space Telescope consists of two parts. One is the Xuntian optical facility, and the other is the Xuntian platform. The former is a telescope which has many subsystems,” Zhan Hu, principal scientist of Xuntian optical facility and researcher from the National Astronomical Observatories of the CAS, told China Media Group (CMG).
The first-generation Xuntian Space Telescope consists of five observation apparatuses, including the Xuntian module, the terahertz module, the multichannel imager, the integral field spectrograph, and the extrasolar planetary imaging coronagraph. Among them, the Xuntian module, a camera with a wide field of view, will be mostly responsible for the observation.
Xu Shuyan, chief designer of the Xuntian optical facility and researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the CAS, told CMG that his team has completed developing all subsystems, components, and units of the Xuntian. They are now preparing for the joint test of Xuntian’s future space launch.
The Xuntian Space Telescope will be launched to space after the completion of the China Space Station. During its normal observations, the Xuntian will fly independently in the same orbit as the space station but will keep a significant distance from it.
Unraveling cosmic mysteries
The Xuntian has a field of view 300 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope while retaining a similar resolution.
The Xuntian Space Telescope, also known as the CSST, is likely to be the largest space telescope for astronomy in the near-ultraviolet and visible scope in the decade before 2035, said Zhan Hu, project scientist of the CSST Optical Facility.
Li Ran, another project scientist of the CSST Scientific Data Reduction System, used the analogy of photographing a sheep flock to explain Xuntian’s capabilities. “Hubble may see a sheep but the CSST sees thousands, all at the same resolution.”
With a huge 2.5-billion-pixel camera, the Xuntian will be able to observe up to 40 percent of the sky over 10 years. It will also co-orbit Earth with the Chinese space station and periodically dock with the future crewed outpost.
Xuntian’s mission as a space optical observatory also includes investigating the properties of dark matter and dark energy, the cosmos, galaxy formation and evolution.
German tech fair focuses on sustainability in consumer electronics
BERLIN, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) — As one of the world’s leading trade fairs for consumer electronics, the five-day IFA 2023 opened here on Friday with over 2,000 exhibitors from 48 countries and regions, a much greater scale than last year.
“In addition to all the historic brands you know and love at IFA, 30 percent of exhibitors are new this year,” Oliver Merlin, managing director of IFA Management, said in a statement issued on Friday.
According to the organizer, sustainability is a major priority of the trade fair. Ahead of IFA’s 100th birthday next year, the 2023 event for the first time dedicated an exhibit area to highlighting sustainability. Besides, it will have multiple forums to discuss how consumer electronic enterprises could develop in a more sustainable approach.
According to IFA official website, nearly 1,300 Chinese exhibitors have registered in this year’s event. Chinese companies such as Hisense, TCL and Haier have occupied some of the largest exhibit areas with various products.
While delivering a keynote speech on Friday, Hisense Group’s President Yu Zhitao said the company looks forward to expanding its overseas market share.
“In order to be more and more user-centric, we are upgrading and optimizing our products and services to meet consumer needs,” he said.
International Congress of Basic Science kicks off in Beijing
The inaugural International Congress of Basic Science (ICBS) took place in Beijing on Sunday with a theme of “Advanced Science for Humanity.”
The conference lasts two weeks, with over 800 top-notch scientists and scholars gathering to discuss frontier research in the fields of mathematics, theoretical physics, theoretical computer and information science.
Shing-Tung Yau, president of the International Congress of Basic Science and a Fields Medal winner, said in the opening speech that he is expecting the academic exchanges at the conference to contribute to the development of the world’s basic science knowledge. “I hope the renowned international scholars learn more about China and the young scholars learn from the best and set their goals.”
The scientists attending the conference include eight Fields Medal winners, four Turing Award winners, one Nobel Prize laureate and more than 50 academicians from different countries.
The conference is hosted by the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, China Association for Science and Technology, and the International Consortium of Chinese Mathematicians.
European Space Agency launches Jupiter moons explorer
PARIS, April 14 (Xinhua) — The European Space Agency (ESA) launched on Friday an Ariane 5 rocket carrying its Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
According to the ESA, the successful launch marks the beginning of an ambitious voyage to uncover the secrets of the ocean worlds on Jupiter’s three largest moons: Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, which hold quantities of water under their surfaces in volumes far greater than in Earth’s oceans.
“These planet-sized moons offer us tantalizing hints that conditions for life could exist other than here on our ‘pale blue dot’,” the ESA said in its press release.
Over the next two-and-half weeks, Juice will deploy its various antennas and instrument booms, including a 16-meter-long radar antenna, a 10.6-meter-long magnetometer boom, and various other instruments that will study the environment of Jupiter and the subsurface of the icy moons, the agency said.
Juice will also monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation, and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, thus studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the Universe.
Juice has been designed for an eight-year cruise with flybys of Earth and Venus to slingshot it to Jupiter. It will make 35 flybys of the three large moons while orbiting Jupiter, before changing orbits to Ganymede, said the agency.
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