China to develop a radar system to assess asteroids' risk to Earthtext_fields
Chinese scientists are working on developing a radar system that can detect and track asteroids. The new method can assess the risk these rocks pose to Earth.
The project is called China Fuyan (meaning "compound eye"). Led by the Beijing Institute of Technology, several Chinese universities are involved in the project.
According to Space.com, astronomers are building an array of over 20 large antennas to bounce signals off asteroids. This will give insight into their chances of impacting Earth. Initially, the team is focusing on asteroids within 150 million kilometers of Earth.
The antennas will have a diametre of 82 to 98 feet and two of them have already been constructed in Chongqing, in southern China. The first set of tests is scheduled for September.
Beijing Institute of Technology president Long Teng told China's Global Times that the ambitious project will meet China's requirements for near-Earth defence and space sensing capability. It can also be used to track satellites and debris in Earth's orbit.
A few months ago, Chinese media reported that the space agency is planning to deliberately crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to test its new monitoring and defence system.
The new mission is likely to be launched in 2025.