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Tibet time services system to boost synchronization accuracy

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Tibet will build its first time precision ground-based system to enhance the security of receiving time service signals for major infrastructure including electric power plants, transportation, communication and defense facilities.

The new time service system for Tibet is expected to be completed by 2023, overhauling accuracy and security standards in sensitive fields like national defense and regional communication, according to Ren Xiaoqian, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' National Time Service Center.

Such signals in Tibet today can only be received via satellite, which is weak and vulnerable to terrorism and and other security risks, according to Ren.

Synchronization is critical to scientific fields when multiple telescopes need to observe the same satellite.

A more precise, ground-based time service can resolve the issue, Ren explained.

The building program was approved by the Chinese government on May 23 as an item of science infrastructure for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

Two time observation stations will be located in Lhasa and Nagqu Prefecture, Tibet Business Daily reported Tuesday.

The Tibet planetarium, still awaiting approval from the government before construction, will also use the system and there are plans for a special section where visitors can understand time better through virtual reality and other interactive exhibits.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2019 and completed in about 2023, Ren said.

Tibet, with its high altitude and thin air, is considered one of the best places in Asia for astronomical observation.

Observatories established in the region include Yangbajing International Cosmic Ray Observatory and the Ngari observatory.

More astronomical and projects are under construction or planned for Tibet, with scientists inspecting Lhasa, Ngari Prefecture, Nagqu Prefecture and Shannan Prefecture to select proper sites, according to the Tibet Business Daily on Tuesday.

The Science and Technology Department of Tibet failed to release further information about astronomy projects and programs as of press time.



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