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Miyin Program: China’s Launch in 2030 to Seek Habitable Exoplanets

An illustration of exoplanets. Depositphotos.

High-resolution imaging and spectroscopy will be employed to search for life-friendly planets outside our solar system.

Are we alone in the universe? This is probably one of the most asked questions in the history of our species. Despite our technological advancements, we still cannot answer this question. But we are not giving up. China is preparing to embark on a groundbreaking mission to find habitable planets beyond our solar system. Set to begin in 2030, the ambitious Miyin program will use advanced imaging and spectroscopy technologies to study distant celestial objects and their potential to support life.

Miyin Program: Pioneering the Search for Habitable Planets

Zhang Xuhui, executive vice president of the China Academy of Aerospace Science and Technology Innovation, announced the under-development Miyin program at a space conference in Hefei City. The Global Times reported that the program’s first search for habitable planets is slated to commence in 2030, following the completion of the basic telescope array.

Mapping Water Composition and Investigating the Origins of Life

Researchers will use high-resolution imaging and spectroscopic observations to study the water composition of various celestial objects within our solar system. The ultimate goal is to understand the structure, physical properties, and distribution of solar system molecular components, particularly water, as well as its origin, dynamics, and chemical composition evolution. Furthermore, the program aims to explore the emergence of life and the conditions that make it possible on Earth.

Milestones Leading Up to the Miyin Program’s Launch

In 2025, the Chinese space station will host experiments in optical interference technology, or interferometry, a technique used to study distant celestial objects. A core technology experimental satellite will be launched in 2026, realizing spatially distributed optical interference detection for the first time and demonstrating the Miyin program’s core technology.

By 2030, the basic type of telescope array for optical interference imaging will be completed, and the search for habitable exoplanets will begin.

China’s Growing Presence in Space Exploration

China’s investment in its space program has led to impressive achievements, such as the successful landing of a probe on the Moon’s far side in January 2019, a feat unmatched by any other country. With NASA’s International Space Station set to be decommissioned and deorbited by 2031, China’s Tiangong space station will likely become the only operational space station.

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