China is expected to launch its first solar probe in the first half of 2022,
the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said on January 22. Named Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S), the probe will travel to the sun-synchronous orbit 720 kilometers above the Earth for at least four years, said researchers. Carrying a solar telescope, a magnetic imager and an X-ray imager, ASO-S will observe solar activities and stormy atmosphere on the star on a 24-hour basis, according to Gan Weiqun, chief scientist of the ASO-S program. The probe will monitor solar storms at least one to three days ahead of their arrival, which is expected to facilitate early warnings of damage to the Earth's electromagnetic environment, Gan said.