China searches for ET (Earth Two, not the 80s extra-terrestrial)

By Scoop
July 1, 2022 · less than 3 min read

A newly released 115-page white paper reveals the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ efforts to uncover the universe’s secrets.

Hunting for ET with Jian Ge

Rumors about this mission have been floating around (space gravity pun half-intended) for a hot minute. Now, the paper is out. The mission is confirmed. The details are there to peruse. Led by Jian Ge, a professor at the CAS Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, a mission team is on the hunt for Earth 2.0.

Supported by over 300 scientists and engineers from across the globe, the team is searching for a planet similar to ours, orbiting a Sun-like star. This marks one of many international efforts to find hospitable planets and life in space.

Here’s the plan: They’re going to use the first telescope designed to measure the occurrence rate of these worlds similar to Earth. They’re also going to measure the range of orbits these planets occupy around their host stars.

A different kind of space race

According to Jian Ge and his team, the ET mission essentially wants to answer three questions – “How common are habitable Earth-like planets orbiting around solar-type stars?”, “How do Earth-like planets form and evolve?” and “What is the mass function and likely origin of free-floating low-mass planets?”

A new next-gen space observatory is also set to launch by the end of 2026, and secondary research of several kinds will be conducted using the telescope as the ET mission progresses. Ge said, “ET will enable the rigorous archaeology of the Milky Way by providing state-of-the-art age dating for a substantial set of the oldest stars in our galaxy.” Indiana Jones, eat your heart out.

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