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A scene from The Wandering Earth, a 2019 Chinese sci-fi film set in a fictional future in which the global government decides to propel Earth out of the solar system. (Picture: China Film Group Corporation)

China aims to search for exoplanets that may be habitable for humans

The international search for potentially habitable exoplanets has yielded dozens of candidates so far

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

China is planning to look for planets near our solar system that can potentially support human life, but not for at least another decade.

In a public lecture in Beijing on Thursday, the general manager of space contractor China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) laid out China’s space exploration program for 2030 to 2045, according to state-run news agency Xinhua. It includes Mi Yin (“Searching Sound”), a plan that involves sending spacecraft to discover exoplanets and survey how habitable they are.
For more than two decades, astronomers around the world have been searching the cosmos for galactic neighbors that resemble the Earth -- the only life-sustaining planet that we know of. Likely candidates should be located just the right distance from a solar system’s star -- colloquially known as the Goldilocks zone, not too hot and not too cold -- so that it can harbor liquid water.
So far, scientists have discovered 55 potentially habitable exoplanets, according to an online database maintained by the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo.

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