The goal of LHAASO, a basic scientific research project to be completed in 2021, is to discover high energy gamma ray sources, and precisely measure the radiation spectrum of very high energy gamma ray sources and energy spectra of various cosmic ray species over a wide range, according to a press release the project hosting Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences sent to the Global Times on Thursday.
Cao noted that the origin of cosmic rays "has puzzled the world for over a hundred years."
Wang Yifang, IHEP director, said that astronomical observation "has entered the era of combining multi-wave length observations and multi-messenger studies together." He emphasized that LHAASO would enhance major international astronomical observation efforts and boost the progress of such research.
LHAASO's Phase One detectors include the No. 1 Water Cherenkov Detector Array (WCDA-1) with an active area of 2.25 hectares, as well as two wide-field Cherenkov telescopes and 80 muon detectors and 180 electromagnetic detectors.
The full scale WCDA, which will eventually comprise three ponds, is designed to survey for gamma ray sources above 100 billion eVs, according to the IHEP.
The reason why the scientists picked the 4,400 meters above sea level site is because such a height would enable the facility to receive the richest physics information in the most effective way, Bai Yunxiang, a member of the research team, told the Global Times.
LHAASO is one of China's major national science and technology infrastructure projects and is located in the Mountain Haizi National Reserve at 4,400 meters above sea level.
The project was approved as part of the country's 12th Five-year Plan (2011-15). Construction began in June 2016 and is expected to be completed in 2021.
Since detectors are being distributed across a wide area, LHAASO has begun observation even as construction continues elsewhere on the site, according to the IHEP.
This article originally appeared on the Global Times website.