China Is Building The Largest Optical Telescope In Asia – Set For 2024


China aims to construct Asia’s largest optical telescope, which would compete with America’s James Webb Space Telescope.

The Peking University project aims to build a ground-based telescope that will reach 19.7 feet by 2024 and increase to 26.2 feet by 2030. The project is known as the Expanding Aperture Segmented Telescope (EAST).

For its first phase, the EAST project would construct a 19.7-foot mirror comprised of 18 hexagonal mirror segments. The telescope‘s goal is to increase China’s optical astronomy observing capability significantly.

Unlike the JWST, which orbits 1 million miles away from Earth at the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, the Chinese optical telescope would be built at an altitude of around 13,800 feet on Saishiteng Mountain near Lenghu Town in Qinghai Province on the Tibetan plateau.

In the project’s second phase, another ring of 18 hexagonal pieces would be constructed, increasing the diameter to 26.2 feet by 2030, slightly larger than the JWST.

Peking University estimates the project cost between $69 and $84 million. The EAST project is the latest evidence of China’s drive to challenge American and Western space dominance.

China completed the world’s most extensive array of telescopes in November, which will be aimed directly at the sun to study how its behavior impacts our planet.

Furthermore, China released potential lunar landing locations near the moon’s south pole in September, which overlap with America’s landing site plan for its Artemis 3 mission in late 2025.

Following the revelations, NASA urged China to remain ‘open and transparent’ about its lunar missions. “Just as the lunar South Pole is of scientific interest to NASA, it is also of scientific interest to other nations, so overlap in potential landing regions is to be expected,” NASA stated.


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