China is planning its first ever solar probe coded Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S) scheduled to launch next year.  The solar mission will be the country's first ever mission to "touch" the sun, where it will be performing a 24-hour continuous observation of the sun, for a duration of at least four years. It is expected to lift in the first half of 2022. 

China's First-Ever Solar Probe Mission set to 'Touch the Sun' in 2022
(Photo : Photo by Christian Lischka SJ on Unsplash)

About China's Solar Probe

The mission is set to orbit 720km or 447 miles above the Earth carrying with it a magnetic detector, a solar telescope as well as an X-ray imager, which is meant to record all of the activities in the sun including its magnetic fields and stormy activities. According to  Gan Weiqun, the mission's chief scientist in an interview with Xihuan News Channel, this will identify the space's weather forecast.

It is said that the probe will be capable of monitoring solar storms "at least 40 hours ahead of their arrival ... which is expected to facilitate early warnings of damage to the Earth's electromagnetic environment", Weiqun said.

Read more: Sun is Back at it Again as Massive Planet-Sized Sunspot Discovered, Possibly Causing Solar Flare Headed to Us

China's Solar Mission of Utmost Importance Timing of Solar Activities

According to South China Morning Post, experts believe that China's timing to enter into the field is important because of its timing.  Activities such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections are considered as two of the most violent eruptions that emanate from the sun's magnetic field. Due to these activities that reached its peak in October 2003, a series of problems in satellite systems as well as in communications emerged. According to NASA, This led to a number of malfunctions and shutdowns, evident in the power outage that happened in Sweden.

However, it is expected that the sun will restart a new 11 year cycle for its solar activities this year and will reach its peak for its activities by 2024 and 2025. Thus, China's entrance will provide a great contribution for the gaps in the study of the sun.

It was still way back in 2011 that the Solar mission in China was proposed. It was only during 2017 that it was approved by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Testing of prototypes for the spacecraft has already started last week. The testing also included a series of environmental and heat experiments, which is expected to finish at the end of January.

China isn't the first to perform such ventures around the sun. Since the 1960s, more than 70 solar expeditions have been made by different countries. China's solar probe in 2020 is meant to "plug China's gap in the field"and make its name in  solar studies. In the many years, China has been making rounds in the space program. By 2023, it also aims to land astronauts in the moon and build a research station there.

Most solar radiation is blocked by the Earth's atmosphere, so scientists send probes into space to ensure a complete picture.

China has stepped up its space programme in recent years. It aims to land astronauts on the moon by 2030 and eventually plans to establish a permanent research station on the moon's south pole.

Its first mission to Mars will see a probe landing on the planet in May. Its deep space exploration plan also includes a mission to bring rocks back from Mars by 2030 and explore Jupiter and its satellites.

China isn't the first to perform such ventures around the sun. Since the 1960s, more than 70 solar expeditions have been made by different countries. China's solar probe in 2020 is meant to "plug China's gap in the field"and make its name in  solar studies. In the many years, China has been making rounds in the space program. By 2023, it also aims to land astronauts in the moon and build a research station there.

Related Article: Scientists Identified Mysterious Behavior of Sun: What is This Weird Phenomenon

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Written by Nikki Delgado

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