Elon Musk has often talked about his plan to colonize Mars. Scientists are so hell-bent on finding another planet to live on because they think Earth will become uninhabitable in the coming years.
Now, China has introduced a new project, “Earth 2.0.” This project aims to find a planet in our solar system, aside from Earth, on which humans can live.
A New Earth
The Chinese Academy of Sciences will fund the mission and is almost done with the first design phase. Once a panel of experts gives the design the green light, they will receive the financial funds to build a satellite. The team’s goal is to launch the spacecraft on a Long March by the end of 2026.
China hopes to find a dozen Earth 2.0 planets with the initiative. Astronomer Jian Ge said that they would gather a lot of data. Hence they need more workforce. The team currently has 300 scientists and engineers, most of who are from China, but astronomers from across the globe will join soon.
The Earth 2.0 Satellite will have seven telescopes that will observe the sky for four years. Out of these telescopes, six will work to survey the Cygnus-Lyra constellations.
These telescopes will observe the 1.2 million stars across a fragment of the sky measuring 500-square-degree. Ge remarked that the Kepler field would be useful because we already have a lot of data from there. The astronomer added that their satellite would be ten times more efficient than NASA’s Kepler telescope.
The seventh telescope will survey rogue planets, or in other words, the free-roaming objects that do not orbit any star and exoplanets that are away from their star, similar to Neptune. It will observe variations in starlight when the gravity of a planet or star bends the light of a star that it is passing in front of.
The telescope’s focus will be the center of the Milky Way, where many stars are located. If it is launched, this will be the first gravitational microlensing telescope that works from space.
By looking for minor changes in the brightness of a star, the telescopes will look for exoplanets. Scientists are using small telescopes instead of a single large one because they will provide a wider field of view. Hence, Earth 2.0 will be able to observe dimmer and distant stars than NASA’s TESS.