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New laser tech has space exploration, oil exploitation applications

(Global Times)    10:39, November 14, 2018

A Chinese company specializing in laser technologies and weapons is promoting the use of lasers in oil exploitation and even space exploration.

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation has used the distributed acoustic sensor technology based on laser interference, the first of its kind in this country, to successfully detect the exploitation conditions of a 5,000-meter oil well in Shengli oil field, China's second largest oil field in East China's Shandong Province, Wu Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Fourth Institute of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, said at the Third Optics Valley Aerospace Laser and Quantum Technology International Forum in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province on Tuesday.

The laser technology could monitor whether the oil extraction equipment is properly connected, whether the transmission of data is normal, said Wu.

Wu told the Global Times that the company is now experimenting in other oil fields in East China's Zhejiang Province, Tarim oil field in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Daqing oil field in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

"Compared with traditional drilling technology, the laser technology could detect whether there is oil underground and promote the production of oil and gas," Wu said.

Wu Chunfeng, a senior engineer at the company, told the Global Times that the laser technology could also be used in exploring other planets.

"The laser technology has high sensitivity and can carry both information and power. Using laser communication and detection to explore other planets may provide clearer imaging," Wu Chunfeng said.

In January, China successfully conducted the world's first two-way high-speed laser communication test, using a laser communication terminal installed on the high-throughput satellite Shijian-13 which is orbiting at 40,000 kilometers above Earth, marking the satellite's first official use.

The successful test shows that the country is at the forefront when it comes to high-speed space information transmission, according to an article posted on the official WeChat public account of the equipment development branch of China's People's Liberation Army Daily.

Experts said laser communication can also facilitate communication in space, laying a great foundation for the country's future space probe projects.

Earlier this month, a new study, published in the Astrophysical Journal, suggested that the laser technology could be used to produce an infrared beam bright enough to be spotted by intelligent alien civilizations. Once discovered, it would be like a bread crumb trail pointing right back to Earth, and extraterrestrials could come calling, media reported.  

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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