Beijing: In a bid to boost defence against near-Earth asteroids, China has started construction of the world’s most far-reaching radar system, Global Times reported.
The system will be built in an observation facility, codenamed China Fuyan or ‘facetted eye’, which will consist of distributed radars with more than 20 antennas. Each antenna will have a diameter of 25 to 30 metres.
The facility will carry out high-definition observation of asteroids within 150 million kilometres, Long Teng, President of the Beijing Institute of Technology, was quoted as saying.
It will also support China’s quests of probing the territory between the Earth and the Moon, including searching for a proper landing target for the Tianwen-2 probe mission.
According to space experts, the new Fuyan will be actively shooting radio signals to celestial bodies in order to obtain new observations, the report said.
“This deep-space radar system would certainly cover the full range in the Earth-Moon system, as the Moon is only some 400,000 kilometres away. And that would mean the system would be able to monitor the country’s spaceship and spacecraft’s journey to the Moon, which would be a great help for China’s lunar exploration,” Wang Ya’nan, chief editor of Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine, was quoted as saying.
The system’s high-definition active observation capacity will reveal details of near-Earth asteroids – in terms of size, shape and flight information – to help defend or intervene its impact, Ya’nan noted.
The Fuyan project also comes after China in April announced plans to build an asteroid monitoring and defence system, which will help address the threats of asteroids hitting Earth.
Initially targeted for 2025, China has now delayed the test mission for a year to 2026.