“Super-Babies to a Quantum Portal to the Cosmos” –China’s 2016 Headlines Foreshadow Control of the Planet & Beyond




In 2016, with headlines announcing yesterday’s launch of the first quantum computer to the completion of the world’s largest radio telescope, China is emerging as the new science super power,  opening portals to new and uncharted territory with some of the world’s most powerful and costly research hardware at their disposal.

China foreshadowed its current great leap with several amazing advances in 2015: moving a big step closer to ‘Star Wars’ laser weapons; creating a new material can support something that is 40,000 times its own weight without bending –the new ‘super-strong foam’ could form lightweight tank and troop armor; and, in a world first, Chinese scientists edited the genomes of human embryos, sparking a global debate about its ethical implications. All of which has set the bar for the seminal accomplishments of 2016…

1.The largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever built, called FAST. The five-hundred-meter aperture spherical telescope (FAST) will search for alien life far out in the cosmos. This is due to be ready by September. With a single dish measuring about 30 soccer fields in area nestled in the remote mountains of Guizhou province, the five-hundred-meter aperture spherical telescope (FAST) will not only grant access to hitherto unseen parts of the cosmos, but also pick up extremely faint radio signals generated by intelligent life in outer space if it reaches out to make contact. China is also building one of the world’s first astronomical computers to power the giant, alien-seeking telescope. With a dish the size of 30 football grounds,  made of 4,450 panels, scientists have depicted it as a super-sensitive “ear”, capable of spotting very weak messages – if there are any – from advanced civilizations.



2. Yesterday’s launch of the world’s first quantum satellite marks new era China puts into service the world’s longest quantum communication network stretching 2,000 kilometers  from Beijing to Shanghai. The launch of the world’s first quantum satellite thrusts mankind into the quantum age, and paves the way for new leaps in spook-proof, hack-proof communications. The satellite will establish an unbreakable communication link and offer global coverage. Relevant quantum teleportation experiments will spur the development of quantum computers that could be tens of billions times faster those in use today, which would have profound military, economic and political implications with the ability to compute the entire evolution of the universe in seconds vs centuries for a classical computer.




3. Chinese scientists made headlines in 2015 by creating “super puppies” through DNA manipulation. Moreover, gene editing used by Chinese researchers on human DNA ranked as Science magazine’s breakthrough of the year. At biology labs, powerful gene-editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 have been perfected on animals and are expected to be performed on humans in 2016. The first patient may appear in China, where researchers made the first attempt to edit the genome of a human embryo in search of cures for various diseases. But the work also courted controversy because the same technology could be used to create super-babies with unnaturally high levels of intelligence and physical strength.




4. A second space lab, a huge neutron accelerator, and a hard X-ray space telescope: China will also launch its second space laboratory, the Tiangong-2 (above). Earlier this year, it said that improved space docking technology would help with future missions. Also in 2016, China will test-fire its largest neutron accelerator, the China Spallation Neutron Source (shown below). It will also launch the world’s most sensitive hard X-ray space telescope, called HXMT, as well as the nation’s first earthquake-warning satellite and other space probes to monitor greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to better tackle climate change.




5. Is China a new superpower in physics? Bolstered by increased government budgets, China’s physicists were already publishing more papers than any country except the United States as far back as eight years ago.The work on quantum teleportation by Professor Pan Jianwei’s team was regarded as the most important breakthrough of the year in physics, and the discovery of the Weyl fermion, a ghost particle first predicted in 1929, that have unique properties that could make them useful for creating high-speed electronic circuits and quantum computers.

The Daily Galaxy via Nature and South China Morning Post



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