China is constructing the largest steerable radio telescope in Asia with a 70-meter-diameter antenna to receive data from its first Mars exploration mission which is expected to be launched this year.
The telescope, with an antenna the size of nine basketball courts, was built by the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuqing District of northern China's Tianjin.
China aims to complete orbiting, landing and roving on the red planet in one mission, which has been named Tianwen-1.
It will be a key facility to receive scientific data sent back by the Mars probe, which can be up to 400 million km from Earth, and the signals will be very weak.
The construction of the telescope began in October 2018 and is expected to be completed this year. Many new technologies have been utilized to improve efficiency and reduce interference noises.
The exploration of Mars will not only investigate whether there is or was life on Mars but also help bring to light the history of evolution and future development trends of Earth, as well as search for potential living space for human beings.
After completion, the telescope will greatly improve China's ability to receive deep space exploration data and will lay a foundation for China's future asteroid and comet probing and other planetary exploration missions.