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China has unveiled unprecedented space missions

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There have already been many missions for the European Space Agency since its creation in 1975. More than ever, ESA has its eyes turned towards our two nearby stars: the Moon and Mars. As such, new robots are preparing for their exploration and investigation missions before humans land there.

The National Center for Space Science and the Chinese Academy of Sciences are preparing to select a new one lot of space missions for the period 2025-2030. These missions will be carried out under the Strategic Priority Program for Space Sciences (SPP), the third of its name. Thirteen missions compete in four main areas of space science: astronomy andastrophysicsThey exoplanetsheliophysics e Solar system. Some of these missions are new, even very ambitious. They are also the sign of China’s very high ambitions on the international stage, which no longer appears as a ” outside the box but as a space power it does not hesitate to compete with other space powers.

Five to seven missions could be selected with a first launch scheduled for 2026. We briefly present the 13 competing missions, some of them new.

“Watch” the disintegration of dark matter

In the field of astronomy and astrophysics, four missions are competing. The eXTP X-ray Observatory (Improved X-ray timing and polarimetry) will address key unsolved questions in basic science: theequation fromstate of matter ultra-dense cold, the effects of severity strong field e physicist of the magnetic fields the most powerful. It will also be used to better understand gravitational waves and the sources of neutrinos. eXTP will be positioned in orbit around the Earth, at an altitude of 550 kilometers.

Damping-2 (Dark Matter Particle Explorer-2) is a satellite for the detection of particles of black matter following the great successes of the Dampe mission. These two missions are designed to track down the black matter. You should know this it matterswhich is assumed to be much more abundant than the classical matter inUniverse, can be detected today only by the force of gravity that exerts on the classical matter that surrounds it. Some models, however, predict that it is made up of particles that could annihilate themselves from time to time by emitting high-level classical particles. power. It is these particles that Dampe-2 wishes to detect.

The mission ADSL (Discovering the sky at the longest wavelength) consists of a network of small satellites placed in lunar orbit. DSL has to open a new one window observation Radio astronomical a frequencies below 30 MHz, with great potential for new and unexpected discoveries. New information is awaited on various astrophysical processes in planets and stars, the Milky WayThey galaxies and the supermassive black holes.

In the field of exoplanets we have already presented the two competing missions. There are Earth 2.0whose goal is to discover planets similar to the Earth in size, mass and constitution, and above all in evolution in habitable area of their star. Namely, planets that have many similarities to the Earth and therefore potentially habitable. The second competing mission is Chess (Investigation of the nearby habitable exoplanet). It is more ambitious because it is designed to discover habitable terrestrial-type planets in the habitable zone around solar-type stars near us. That is to say that it is found more or less 32 light years from us. Both would operate at Sun-Earth Lagrange 2 (L2).

The poles of the Sun seen from an unprecedented promontory

Heliophysics is a discipline that paves the way for a better understanding of Sun and its interactions with the Earth, the Solar System and the interstellar medium, including the meteorology space. Four missions are proposed.

OR(Solar ring) is a mission to monitor and study the Sun and theheliosphere interior with a 360 ° view in the ecliptic plane. Three satellites separated by 120 ° in an orbit at 1 will be used AU Of sun. The purpose of the mission is to study the origin of the solar cycle, the origin of solar flares and the origin of spatial bad weather.

The SPO satellite (Solar observatory in polar orbit) will directly imagine the solar poles of the Sun in an unprecedented way. It will perform an orbit around the Sun with a large inclination (≥ 80 °) with respect to plane of the ecliptic and low ellipticity. SPO will reveal the origin of the cycle of solar magnetic activity that shapes the life environment on Earth, to determine the generation mechanism of the solar wind high speed. Your data will also be useful for construction digital templates heliospheric and space time.

The Observatory of solar eclipses of terrestrial origin Eseo (Solar eclipse observatory obscured by the Earth), is a satellite that will be installed in the second Lagrange point (L2). It will use theconcealment from the Sun to the Earth to explore the inner corona and should reveal the initial stage of solar flares in the inner corona and subsequently how the Earth’s magnetic tail responds to these flares.

Finally, the Chime satellite (Chinese heliospheric medium interstellar explorer) should provide the first steps on site from gas and some interstellar dust. Chime will be installed in an elliptical orbit heliocentric with a perihelion about 1 AU ea aphelion about 3 AU.

Is there life in the clouds of Venus?

as the greenhouse gases affect the climate change and do they respond? What are the spatial and temporal variations of ocean dynamics at different scales? How can we trace the evolution of the dichotomous Solar System in the first 10 million years? The geological and thermal history of Venus, the mechanisms of the super greenhouse effect, the past and present habitable environments and the possible existence of life on Venus. To answer these questions, four missions are competing.

The ASR mission (Return of the asteroid sample) aims to bring back samples of the little one asteroid type E 1989 ML (0.6 km in diameter) taken from three different sites. Completing the entire mission will take approximately four years.

As for the item (Venus volcano imaging and climate explorer), it is a mission to study Venus. The spacecraft will evolve approximately 350 kilometers from its surface into a polar orbit. Its purpose is to study the geological evolution of Venus, atmospheric thermochemical processes, surface-atmosphere interactions, as well as verify if Venus has a habitable environment and if it exists. life in the clouds.

Caces (Climatic and atmospheric components that explore satellites) is a small mission consisting of two satellites in low orbit synchronous to the sun which will focus on the observation of climatic variables and on the composition ofatmosphere terrestrial. Caces promises to provide a deeper understanding of how greenhouse gases affect climate change and their role in weather disasters. This mission also aims to monitor and quantify the emissions from carbon in 2028. These measurements will be useful for the Chinese government to verify that China has indeed achieved carbon neutral by 2060as he promised.

Oscom (Multiscale observation mission of the ocean surface current) is an altimeter satellite dedicated to the study of ocean dynamics and energy in order to better understand the mass and energy exchanges between the ocean and the atmosphere. The satellite will focus its measurements on the currents, waves and surface winds.

Beyond 2030, advanced research programs on future space mission concepts will be funded over the next five years or beyond. A first call for ideas was launched and more than 20 proposals were submitted, including a project for a gamma observatory, space meteorology, exploration of Ceres For instance.

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