China Builds World‘s Largest Telescope to Find Aliens

China Builds World‘s Largest Telescope to Find Aliens

The world’s biggest radio telescope has been built in China, with the ultimate aim to find extraterrestrial civilisations, the country’s Xinhua state media outlet reports. The Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) – located in Pingtang County in China’s southwest Guizhou Province, and the equivalent size of 30 football pitches – was completed on Sunday (3rd July) after the installation of the dish’s final triangular reflector panel.

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“The telescope is of great significance for humans to explore the universe and extraterrestrial civilizations,” Chinese science fiction writer and winner of 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel Liu Cixin declared at the official unveiling of FAST. “I hope scientists can make epoch-making discoveries.”

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“FAST’s potential to discover an alien civilization will be 5 to 10 times that of current equipment, as it can see farther and darker planets,” Peng Bo of the Chinese Academy of Sciences added.

At half-a-kilometre, FAST is nearly twice as wide as the previous biggest radio telescope, the 300-metre Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, best known for being the location of the finale of James Bond movie Goldeneye. The project cost $180 million and has been under construction since 2011.

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“As the world’s largest single aperture telescope located at an extremely radio-quiet site, its scientific impact on astronomy will be extraordinary, and it will certainly revolutionize other areas of the natural sciences,” Nan Rendong, Chief Scientist on the FAST Project, said.

In addition to searching out strange new worlds, the scientists behind the FAST Project hope that the radio telescope can help support breakthroughs in our understanding of pulsars, which are highly magnetised, rotating neutron stars that could help us understand gravitational fields.

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