IHEP in the Media
China Space Station: Largest experiment plan for CSS being developed
[video:China Space Station- Largest experiment plan for CSS being developed - CGTN]
The construction of the China Space Station will soon complete. Scientists are designing experiments to be conducted on the CSS, aiming to find answers to some of the biggest cosmic questions. Sun Ye has more.
"This will be the largest experiment on the China Space Station."
Astrophysicist Zhang Shuangnan was showing us the still comparatively small, but essential part of the high energy cosmic-ray detector or HERD.
That will one day be onboard the China Space Station, and become a "landmark" instrument.
"If you have a telescope looking up, this will be the only thing you can identify. It will be a landmark."
And HERD could also provide some unprecedented understanding of dark matter and the universe.
ZHANG SHUANGNAN Professor, Institute of High Energy Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences "The goal of the experiment is that we will detect the most high energy particles in space with the highest precision. That's the goal. This is why we design the experiment to have this large dimension to have this weight and to be able to receive particles from all directions."
HERD would weigh somewhere around four tons, and for years it's been a heavy-weight project that has attracted the best minds from China and around the world.
ZHANG SHUANGNAN Professor, Institute of High Energy Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences "The team has more than 200 scientists，more than half actually come from Europe. The other half come mostly from china, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. Each institute contributes its best technology so that we work together, we can build the best experiment in the world. We hope when it is delivered to china space station, it will be the leading experiment in this field for at least 10 years and we hope even more."
Zhang says they hope that HERD, a project that started 15 years ago, could arrive at the CSS in the next five years. But before that, his team has another international co-operative experiment that could be on board sooner.
It's a larger study on gamma-ray bursts called POLAR 2, that will help understand black holes. It follows up on project POLAR that was carried out on China's Tiangong 2 space lab in 2016.
With the China Space Station, also the national space lab, soon to start operation, Zhang says the scientific community is very hopeful.
ZHANG SHUANGNAN Researcher, Institute of High Energy Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences "This is not a question of if we will set world records, but exactly what the records are, we do not know because it's a completely unknown frontier. In all scientific research, when you are at the very forefront, you don't know what's beyond. You only can make your best effort, build the best instrument and wait for what the nature and the universe tell us."