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Chinese scientists push for Solar Polar Orbiter
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Chinese scientists push for Solar Polar Orbiter
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Mar 14, 2024

Yang Mengfei, a prominent spacecraft scientist and advisor, has urged for state backing in developing a satellite designed for solar observations from a unique solar polar orbit. This initiative aims to deepen our understanding of solar phenomena that significantly influence earthly technologies and natural occurrences.

Yang, a senior researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology and a respected member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, emphasized the critical role of the sun in sustaining life on Earth and its potential to disrupt vital human operations through cosmic hazards. He noted the global efforts in solar observation, highlighting that existing satellites mainly focus on the sun's equatorial regions due to their orbital paths along the ecliptic plane.

"Positioning a satellite in a solar polar orbit would revolutionize our access to data on solar magnetic activity cycles and high-speed solar winds, which are crucial for understanding the impact on Earth's environment and technological infrastructure," Yang asserted.

Despite longstanding considerations for such a satellite among Chinese scientists, the concept has yet to materialize beyond theoretical discussions. Yang pointed to China's robust capabilities in science, technology, and engineering as a solid foundation for undertaking this ambitious project. He advocated for the commencement of the spacecraft's design work and for the project to be recognized as a priority within China's national space exploration agenda.

Yang's proposal was shared during the annual session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, signifying the strategic importance of this initiative at the highest levels of political discourse.

China's engagement in solar exploration has already seen significant achievements, such as the launch of its first space-based solar telescope, the Xihe, in October 2021. This mission has facilitated advanced solar research by providing detailed observations of the sun's H-Alpha waveband, thereby contributing to global scientific efforts to comprehend solar dynamics and their broader cosmic implications.

Based on a Xinhua News Agency article

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