China Current Affairs

World’s largest radio telescope built in China

China has built world’s largest radio telescope nicknamed Tianyan (Heavenly Eye” or “The Eye of Heaven) or the five-hundred-metre aperture spherical radio telescope (FAST).

It has started its operation and is part of China’s drive to become a science powerhouse. It is located in the Dawodang depression (vast natural crater), a natural basin in Pingtang County in the Guizhou Province, Southwest China.

Key Facts

  • With its opening, the intensive testing phase of the telescope will begin. It will take nearly three years to calibrate the instruments of telescope to become fully operational.
  • The facility is part of China’s drive to become a science powerhouse. It is an ambitious project of the National Astronomical Observatories of China.
  • It is the world’s largest filled aperture (single dish) radio telescope and the second largest radio telescope after the Russian RATAN-600, which has a sparsely filled aperture.
  • It is made up of 4,450 panels and has reflector as large as 30 football pitches. It has 500 meters diameter, giving it more sensitivity.
  • It will be used to search for signs of intelligent life and to observe distant pulsars – tiny, rapidly spinning neutron stars believed to be the products of supernova explosions.
  • It will be also used to study stellar radio emissions, gravitational waves and potentially signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • China’s best supercomputers the SkyEye-1 will be used to process the massive amounts of data supplied by FAST.

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China successfully launches Tiangong-2 space lab

China has successfully launched Tiangong-2 space lab to develop expertise for a future space station and conduct science experiments.

The space lab was launched on board of Long March-2F T2 rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi desert.

Key Facts

  • Tiangong-2 ( in English means Heavenly Palace 2) space lab is part of China’s ambitious Project 921-2 space station program aimed at creating a third generation space station.
  • The 8-tonne module replaces China’s now-defunct Tiangong 1 space lab mission which had ended its operational life in March 2016.
  • Tiangong-2 features improved living quarters and life-support infrastructure for longer stays by visiting crewmembers.
  • It will be used for testing systems and processes for mid-term space stays and refueling. It will be placed at slightly higher orbit around 393 kilometres above the earth.

Note: The Tiangong-2 and its predecessor, Tiangong-1 (launched in September 2011), are prototypes for China’s ultimate goal to launch a permanent 20-ton space station after 2020 just as International Space Station (ISS). It will make China potentially the only country with a permanent space presence. In 2003, China had conducted its first crewed space mission becoming only the third country after Russia and the US to do so.

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China tests stealth-defeating quantum radar

China has claimed that it has successfully developed and tested a radar system that uses quantum entanglement to beat the stealth technology of modern military aircrafts.

This first Chinese quantum radar was developed by the Intelligent Perception Technology Laboratory. Prior to it, US was only the country stealth-defeating quantum radar.

Key Facts

  • Quantum radar is a device that uses quantum entanglement photons to provide better detection capabilities than conventional radar systems.
  • The radar system is able to detect a target at a range of 100 kilometers in a real-world environment.
  • The device employs single photon detection technology and was tested in mid-August 2016.
  • It easily tracks targets with a low radar cross section, such as modern aircraft using stealth technology or targets employing active countermeasures to jam or baffle enemy radar.

Earlier, China launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite, which uses quantum entanglement for cryptography.

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