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September 17, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Expert floats idea of Chinese Noah's Ark

CHINA may one day have its own equivalent of Noah's Ark based on the technology of aerostats such as the one floating above the World Expo site, an expert said yesterday.

Wu Manqing, academician and director of No. 38 Institution of the China Electronic Technology Co, said aerostats, like the "Sky Eye" above Expo site, could be widely used in future not just as aerial surveillance devices but possibly to save human lives if natural disasters, such as those depicted in the Hollywood movie "2012," struck.

"Aerostats have much more load capacity than planes," Wu said.

Wu said that the UK's "SkyCat" was currently the biggest aerostat in the world and able to carry a 1,000-ton load or 15,000 people. And Russia, Wu said, has invested US$90 billion to build huge aerostats "to shelter people when there is a disaster."

Wu said China was also in the first group of aerostat research and development and it was not impossible that it would create its own Noah's Ark.

The "Sky Eye" above the Expo site will remain in the air for urban surveillance after the event, according to the Shanghai Civil Defense Office.

Officials said the craft, which uses gases lighter than air to keep aloft, will be used to monitor the entire city to identify any problems on the streets. Its high definition cameras are powerful enough to be able to identify a 1 yuan coin on the ground below.


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