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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday May 11, @06:36PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the my-sights-adjusted-and-my-telescope-aimed dept.

Distant galaxies, dark matter, dark energy and the origin and evolution of the universe itself are some of the many scientific goals of China's newly announced space telescope. If all goes according to plan, the China Space Station Telescope (CSST) will blast off atop a Long March 5B rocket sometime in late 2023. Once in a safe orbit, CSST should begin observations in 2024. Judging by these research topics, it looks like the Chinese Academy of Sciences is throwing down an impressive scientific gauntlet for itself and its astronomers.

Given the potential scientific rewards, it's not surprising that China is joining the "big space telescope club." It's also a source of national pride, especially if they can "out-Hubble Hubble." For example, once CSST is operational, Chinese scientists hope to survey the sky and observe more than 1 billion galaxies. Their instruments should let them get highly precise measurements of galaxy shapes, positions and brightness. They'll use the telescope to go after exoplanets, star birth regions, and other distant objects, gathering incredible amounts of high-resolution data.

Phys.org

[Also Covered By]: Universe Today

[Source]: Chinese Academy of Sciences

[Presentation]: Chinese Survey Space Telescope Technical Presentation (2021) (PDF)


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, @06:56PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, @06:56PM (#1244138)

    Didn't James Webb already "out-Hubble Hubble?"

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday May 11, @07:30PM

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday May 11, @07:30PM (#1244147) Journal

      Obviously, they needed to wait for James Webb to launch. How else were they to beta test their hardware+software?

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    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 11, @07:40PM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 11, @07:40PM (#1244150)

      The "big astronomy" wonks are already lamenting the demise of Hubble - and when Hubble is gone it won't just be 32 year old tech, it will be a big gap in the current observation capabilities.

      JWST isn't "better than Hubble" so much as it is different. There are many things that Hubble can still do better than any other instrument in existence, including JWST. If CSST can replace even some of those lost Hubble capabilities, that will be more than a national pride project, that will be contributing new meaningful data to the continually advancing science of astronomy.

      In 32 years Hubble has only observed an infinitesimal sliver of space-time. By comparison, we've seen more of the deep ocean floor than Hubble has observed of all the potentially interesting features and events out there.

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      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, @08:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, @08:18PM (#1244157)

        It is apples/oranges with Hubble/JWST because they are designed primarily for different wavelength ranges. One could be a stickler and say that JWST can "out Hubble" Hubble on some narrow wavelength bands where they overlap, but then you'd have to define what "out Hubbling" means because Hubble has 32 years of observations to catch up on.

        By comparison, we've seen more of the deep ocean floor than Hubble has observed of all the potentially interesting features and events out there.

        And one should keep in mind that we've only seen a very small amount of the deep ocean floor at that.

      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday May 12, @03:07PM (1 child)

        by Freeman (732) on Thursday May 12, @03:07PM (#1244417) Journal

        You're assuming the science will be available to all. Assumption not guaranteed when dealing with China. China has a mentality of what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine.

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        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 12, @04:55PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 12, @04:55PM (#1244460)

          China has a mentality of what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine.

          Time will tell. Russia did an unbelievable good job of cooperation in space, up until last week.

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  • (Score: 3, Touché) by kreuzfeld on Wednesday May 11, @07:33PM (1 child)

    by kreuzfeld (8580) on Wednesday May 11, @07:33PM (#1244148)

    Interesting project -- but I'd be pretty unhappy if one of my astronomy graduate students gave a presentation with as few references or attributions as the linked PDF. Making proper acknowledgements of past work may not be a strong suit in this case.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, @09:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, @09:16PM (#1244170)

    They'll be able to spot Uyghurs no matter where they hide. Exterminate! Exterminate!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Snotnose on Wednesday May 11, @09:18PM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Wednesday May 11, @09:18PM (#1244171)

    Worst case: they hoard the info they get
    Best case: all the data is in the cloud for anyone to access

    I'm guessing somewhere in the middle. Considering it's China they're going to hoard the data, considering it's China they're gonna want the recognition, considering it's China if anything "interesting" turns up then crickets.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Wednesday May 11, @09:26PM (3 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 11, @09:26PM (#1244172) Homepage Journal

    I once heard (and don's know if it's true) that in the ancient days when NASA was set up to explore space, another administration was set up by the USA to explore the deep ocean, with similar budget. I've never heard any more about it. Can anyone tell me whether it's true, and if so, whether it discovered anything worth noting?

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, @11:25PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, @11:25PM (#1244204)

      It wouldn't surprise me if something was planned, and set up to a certain extent, because that all happened at the time of the International Geophysical Year [wikipedia.org], which really was a remarkable time. We would really do well if we could have another one of those celebrations now. I can guarantee that if something was set up, it wasn't with a comparable budget as Apollo. That really was a big chunk of discretionary spending, so much so that the program was cancelled largely on budgetary reasons.

      Since I was a kid, I've always wondered why we haven't done settlements under the sea. My guess is that there wasn't a pressing need coupled with the issues of maintaining long-term structures in an ocean environment. Space is a lot more sexy, I think, from a PR perspective. Maybe if Sea Hunt captured the TV audience like Star Trek, that maybe we'd have undersea labs and habitats today.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 12, @01:05AM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 12, @01:05AM (#1244233)

        Space isn't just sexier, it's much lower cost. Maintenance in space is a tiny fraction of ocean operations. Line of sight applications from orbit have tremendous ROI (unless you really botch the business plan and timing like Iridium). In the ocean you have to deal with salt corrosion, storms, waves on the surface, tremendous pressure differentials at depth, etc. Ocean craft are cheaper to launch, but otherwise they are much more expensive to build and maintain.

        The ocean colonization study results I have seen basically found no ROI or sustainability for long term ocean operations. Obviously there are exceptions for oil extraction, fishing, and a few other things that are basically exploiting natural resources much faster than they replenish. And special cases like extending Manhattan island into the Hudson river can occasionally make economic sense, but those are extreme edge cases.

        --
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      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday May 12, @03:19PM

        by Freeman (732) on Thursday May 12, @03:19PM (#1244426) Journal

        https://slate.com/technology/2013/09/sea-vs-space-which-is-the-real-final-frontier.html [slate.com]

        The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—NASA’s soggy counterpart

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  • (Score: 2) by Frosty Piss on Thursday May 12, @07:22AM

    by Frosty Piss (4971) on Thursday May 12, @07:22AM (#1244320)

    It will be much much smaller than Hubble and Webb, and a lot more powerful. But it will only last 6 months, and then BAMM! Just fuzzy grainy images of Chairman Xi:

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