If you’ve heard a politician or any of the old space establishment talk about America’s place in spaceflight, then you’ve probably heard threats of China taking away our space superiority. China still has a lot of work to do if they want to match America and Russia’s achievements, but it looks like human spaceflight isn’t the only area they’re putting effort into. Now China is serious about the business of finding Earth-like exoplanets, and they’re pretty confident that they’ll find what they’re looking for.
According to The Daily Galaxy, Chinese astronomers have recently set up shop in Antarctica in an effort to find the life-bearing jewels of the galaxy. They have set up the first of three Antarctic Survey Telescopes in a prime location at Dome Argus, the highest point on the whole continent. Director of the Chinese Center for Antarctic Astronomy, Wang Lifan, is extremely optimistic about their chances.
Antarctica has the best conditions on Earth for astronomical observation, as it has very flat ground, a transparent atmosphere and little turbulence. The ground-based telescopes here will bring us precious information from the universe. We will send people there to retrieve observation data next spring. I hope we can find some likely candidates. It’s hard to say precisely how many, but I hope there are no less than 10.