The project, named Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES), if carried out, will be the first space mission specially designed to search for habitable terrestrial planets around nearby Sun-like stars.
About Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES)
- The exploration of habitable planets outside the solar system is one of the key frontiers of fundamental research in astronomy.
- The CHES will observe about 100 Sun-like stars 32 light-years away on a long-term survey, and will hopefully discover roughly 50 Earth-like planets or super-Earths, planets that are up to about 10 times the mass of Earth.
- The discovery of the nearby habitable worlds will be a great breakthrough for humankind, and will also help humans visit those Earth twins and expand our living space in the future.
- For this mission, called the Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES), the scientists would use a method called micro-arcsecond relative astrometry.
- This technique involves taking ultraprecise measurements of the positions and movements of stars compared with a set of background reference stars to detect the perturbations of a star resulting from the gravitational influence of exoplanets as they orbit their stars.
- CHES would carry out its work from sun-Earth Lagrange Point 2, about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth, where Gaia, Spektr-RG and the James Webb Space Telescope are currently operating.
- If China becomes successful in carrying out the project, it would be the very first space mission, designed in the search for habitable Earth-like planets, about 32 light-years from Earth.
- Further, the CHES mission will be contributing to the advancement of scientific research like explorations pertaining to black holes and the dark matter in the universe.
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