Currently, most of the asteroids that come close to the Earth are detected by optical telescopes, China has a better plan for this, they are going to build a new planetary radar system. Optical telescopes do not provide as much information as radio frequency telescopes because visible light does not provide as much information.
A team of military and government researchers in the country have urged the construction of this system. It would be the “largest radar system on the planet”. The system will use antennas in different parts of the country to monitor asteroids that could be a threat.
Only the United States has its own planetary radar system
Right now only the United States has one of these systems with the Goldstone radar in California, previously the Arecibo Observatory was also active until it ended up being blown to smithereens. Relying on the U.S. alone is not something the Chinese authorities like, as they seek independence and leadership for the country internationally in all possible areas.
China‘s proposed system would use about four or five 35-meter-diameter radio antennas to send radio beams into space. According to the plan, the signals that will return by reflecting off objects in space will be collected by antennas deployed throughout the country. They plan to place those antennas in cities such as Jiamusi, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Kunming.
Interference is the big problem with radio telescopes. That is why radio telescopes are usually located in deserts or far away from any human activity around them. Radio telescopes, in addition to being able to receive interfering signals from nearby devices, can affect the operation of vehicles and other devices by emitting their signals.
China would probably install these antennas somewhere where human activity is minimal and population density is low. The ideal candidate seems to be the Xinjiang area. On the other hand, the possibility of equipping FAST (the world’s largest radio telescope) with capabilities to function as a planetary radar was also raised, but upgrading it would be too costly.
China is becoming a superpower in space exploration
China, as the years go by, is becoming a superpower in space exploration. Recent evidence of this is its landing on the far side of the Moon, having the world’s largest radio telescope, bringing back lunar samples, or its mission to Mars that will attempt to land on the neighboring planet in a few days.