China to hunt for Earth-like planets with formation-flying telescopes


China is creating an array of telescopes called the Miyan mission to search for earth-like planets orbiting other stars. There will be 4 telescopes and a beam combiner orbiting Earth-Sun Lagrange point L2, which is behind the earth with respect to the sun. The main objective of these telescopes would be to capture high-resolution images of other Sun-like stars to try to find Earth-like planets that might be habitable.

This project is planned to have technology demonstrations in 2024, with a prototype of the telescopes being launched in 2027, with the full system being in L2 in 2030. This project would make amazing moves for science if all goes according to plan.

While this would have amazing moves for science, it may be concerning for cybersecurity, as China is one of the US’s biggest adversaries. Advanced telescope arrays, in addition to exploring planets, could allow China to have additional domain awareness in deep space. This would mean that any new missions, whether science missions or others, will need to be prepared for mitigating those threats.