China begins phase-II construction on far-reaching radar system, to boost defense against near-Earth asteroid impact

The second phase of China Fuyan, the supposedly most extensive radar system in the world, has begun in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, the Global Times learned on Tuesday from the project's lead, Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT). China Fuyan is a high-definition deep-space active observation facility.

Building 25 radars with a 30-meter aperture as part of the project's second phase, code-named China Fuyan [faceted eye], will enable the detection and imaging of asteroids over 10 million kilometers away. This will significantly support China's planetary science research and near-Earth asteroid impact defense efforts.

Phase II's construction, which would take up more than 300 mu (20 hectares), is planned to be finished by 2025. According to a statement given to the Global Times by Long Teng, president of BIT and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the project will enter a new phase of study and development.

Distributed radars with more than 20 antennas, each with a diameter of 25 to 30 meters, will make up China Fuyan. It is anticipated to become the most extensive radar system in the world, able to see asteroids in high resolution up to 150 million kilometers away.

According to Long, the device was given the catchy moniker China Fuyan because it contains several antennas that resemble the faceted eyes of an insect.

China Fuyan will address the demand for the defense of near-Earth asteroids and situational awareness of space through high-resolution observation of asteroids, spacecraft, the moon, Earth-like planets, Jupiter Galileo satellites, and other deep-space objects. It will offer crucial assistance for the investigation of Earth's habitability, planet creation, and other cutting-edge scientific studies.

There are three stages to the project's construction. The first stage, which has four radars with a 16-meter aperture, was finished near Chongqing in December 2022. It was successful in taking the first three-dimensional radar image of lunar craters from the ground in the nation.

The second phase of the project will be finished, and the third phase will increase the number of radar units to over 100, according to the Global Times.

Experts observed that Fuyan would actively shoot radio waves to celestial bodies in order to gain fresh observations, in contrast to the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope known as Tianyan, which is intended to collect passive observations of radio signals from space.

They said that because it can track Chinese spacecraft as they go to the moon, this will be highly beneficial for China's exploration of the moon.