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Constellations of global positioning system satellites have been orbiting the Earth for decades, but China's new satellite network called BeiDou, which harnesses atomic hydrogen clocks for extra precision, has been built with the new age of self-driving cars in mind. These networks of satellites for navigation and communication, make our lives increasingly susceptible to space weather; the large outbursts of charged particles which the Sun periodically hurls towards Earth. So China has teamed up with the European Space Agency to mount a mission that will orbit the Earth's polar regions, to shed light on how such Solar Storms might affect future satellites. China's Moon exploration program, in operation since the early 2000s, has now placed two satellites in lunar orbit, and two more on the Moon's surface; including a robotic rover in the ancient Aitken Basin the lunar far side; a first in spaceflight history. A Moon sample return mission is next, and China hopes human explorers could follow. Welcome to a new race for space.
Length: 24 minutes
Copyright date: ©2019
Prices include public performance rights.
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