Macau’s first scientific satellite is planned for launch in 2020 or 2021, the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) announced yesterday during the ceremony for the launch and naming of the project at the MUST campus. The University is calling on the Macau public to submit suggestions to name the satellite.
Initiated by MUST, the project is jointly organized by the Macau SAR government, the Liaison Office and the China National Space Administration, and is co-organized by the State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences of MUST.
Not only will this satellite be the first for Macau, it will also be the “world’s first and only scientific exploration satellite so far to be placed in a near-equatorial orbit to monitor the geomagnetic field and space environment of the near-equator South Atlantic Anomaly,” according to MUST.
In practical terms, the satellite will serve “to provide basic information for oil exploration, forecasting disasters, mitigation of space-related disasters, weather forecasts, and it can be used for industrial or civilian navigation” according to Liu Liang, president of MUST.
The core objective of the satellite project lies in the SAA Geomagnetic Exploration and the Earth’s deep interior and geodynamo research. The satellite is said to be “able to provide high-accuracy, high-resolution and long-time vector magnetic data and high-energy particles data of the SAA space, and is expected to yield world-leading research outcomes and social benefits in basic and applied research areas such as thermoremanent magnetization of geological rocks, geodynamo, and nuclear magnetic fluid dynamics.”
To help raise awareness of Macau’s scientific and technological developments, the project team is holding a naming event for Macau’s First Scientific Satellite Project, inviting the public to submit names for the satellite until the end of the month.
All Macau residents, non-resident students studying in Macau, and non-resident workers working in Macau are eligible to take part in the event. Each set of ID information is eligible to participate once, and each person must be over 6 years old.
Participants are required to prepare a brief statement of no more than 150 words, explaining the meaning behind their name.
Winners of the 1st prize, 2nd prize and 3rd prize will be assessed and selected by a content evaluation committee, in addition to a participation prize, which will be drawn randomly on a computer by the event organizer.
The project team will choose a name from the list of those submitted by the public and may also make changes to the chosen name in order to give the satellite its final name.
The project will continue to explore a series of interconnected scientific studies including the manufacturing and testing work of the satellite, to be completed by the end of this year. Afterwards, research and analysis will be conducted, based on the data provided by the satellite.
In addition, the team plans to use the project to promote scientific education programs for Macau youth. Once the project’s Earth surface mission center is completed, students of all levels in Macau will be invited to visit the center. The team will also join students on their campuses to provide talks, training and observational tutorials. There will also be cross-regional science experience camps, travelling studies and other activities.
The State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Science of MUST was approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and established on October 8, 2018. The lab’s overall objective includes constructing a research center on planetary sciences with international influence.