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More about Big Bang? China to set up World’s Highest Altitude Gravitational Wave Telescope in Tibet

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activist in China
In China, Pixabay

Lhasa, Jan 7, 2017: China is working to set up the world’s highest altitude gravitational wave telescopes in Tibet Autonomous Region to detect the faintest echoes resonating from the universe, which may reveal more about the Big Bang.

Construction has started for the first telescope, code-named Ngari No.1, 30 km south of Shiquanhe town in Ngari Prefecture, said Yao Yongqiang, chief researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xinhua news agency reported.

The telescope, located 5,250 meters above sea level, will detect and gather precise data on primordial gravitational waves in the Northern Hemisphere.

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It is expected to be operational by 2021.

Yao said the second phase involves a series of telescopes, code-named Ngari No. 2, to be located about 6,000 meters above sea level. He did not give a time frame for construction of Ngari No. 2.

The budget for the two-phase Ngari gravitational wave observatory is an estimated 130 million yuan ($18.8 million). The project was initiated by the Institute of High Energy Physics, National Astronomical Observatories, and Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, among others.

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Ngari, with its high altitude, clear sky, and minimal human activity, is said to be one of the world’s best spots to detect tiny twists in cosmic light.

Yao said the Ngari observatory will be among the world’s top primordial gravitational wave observation bases, alongside the South Pole Telescope and the facility in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Gravitational waves were first proposed by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity 100 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2016 that scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory announced proof of the waves’ existence, spurring fresh research interest among the world’s scientists.

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China has announced its own gravitational wave research plans, which include the launch of satellites and setting up FAST, a 500-meter aperture spherical radio telescope in southwest China’s Guizhou Province. (IANS)

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India and Russia Discussing Wide Range of Cooperation in Space Sector

What has been finalised is the agreement to train the Indian cosmonauts by Russia for our human space mission Gaganyaan

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India, Russia, Space
We are in discussions with the Russian space agency on various aspects and nothing has been firmed up. Pixabay

India and Russia are discussing a wide range of cooperation in the space sector with the latter’s offer of its semi-cryogenic engine technology and critical components for India’s human space capsule, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)Chairman K. Sivan said on Sunday.

“We are in discussions with the Russian space agency on various aspects and nothing has been firmed up. What has been finalised is the agreement to train the Indian cosmonauts by Russia for our human space mission Gaganyaan,” Sivan told IANS in an interview here.

“Russia is offering its semi-cryogenic rocket engine technology to India under the `Make-in-India’ programme. The rocket engines could be made in India and used in our rockets,” Sivan said.

In a recently statement, Russian state-run space corporation Roscosmos said the two countries will discuss cooperation in the sphere of piloted space flights, satellite navigation and engine technology.

India, Russia, Space
India and Russia are discussing a wide range of cooperation in the space sector with the latter’s offer of its semi-cryogenic engine technology and critical components for India’s human space capsule. Pixabay

Sivan also said the two countries are also discussing the setting up of ground stations in each other’s countries to enhance the accuracy of their satellite navigation signals.

“We want to set up our ground station for our NavIC system in Russia. Russia, in turn, wants to set up a ground station in India for its satellite navigation system. The Russian ground station will be in Bengaluru while ours is likely to be in Moscow,” Sivan said.

Queried about the sourcing of critical components for India’s human space mission ‘Gaganyaan’ from Russia, Sivan replied: “The discussions are on. Nothing has been finalised. We have to see whether we need to buy their components. The components have to be suitable for us.”

Sivan also said the ISRO’s focus currently is on India’s moon landing mission Chandrayaan-2.

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The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft is now in the lunar orbit and ISRO will have to carry out three more orbital manoeuvres to bring it to an altitude of 100 km from the moon surface.

Thereafter, the lander ‘Vikram’ will separate and will soft land on the moon’s South Pole on September 7 around 1.55 a.m. (IANS)