China's massive atmospheric laser radar explained

China says the laser will have a range of 1,000 kilometers.

    2019/08/06

NSFW    BEIJING — China is building a powerful laser radar facility to help researchers study atmospheric particles that protect against cosmic rays and solar winds.

The laser radar will have a range of 1,000 kilometers, according to a statement by the Chinese Academy of Science.

Atmospheric lasers typically have an estimated range of 100 kilometers, according to the South China Morning Post.

The radar will send out a high-energy laser beam that will penetrate through clouds and reach the edge of the earth's atmosphere, the South China Morning Post reports. The beam will then hit atmospheric particles such as high-altitude atoms.

Several large optical telescopes will then be used to pick up and analyze faint signals reflected by these particles.

According to the South China Morning Post, the laser radar is part of China's Meridian Space Weather Monitoring Project which started in 2008.

The project consists of multiple ground-based observatories that monitor and forecast solar activities. The project plans to build facilities in the Arctic, the South China Sea, Central Asia and South America among other places by 2025.
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