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China to Activate Giant Radio Telescope, Starts Search for Alien Life

Sep 23, 2016 05:36 AM EDT
d's Largest Radio Telescope Under Construction
The world's largest radio telescope, built to search for alien life, is set to start looking by Sept. 25.
(Photo : VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

After launching Tiangong-2, China's second space lab, the country also activated the world's largest radio telescope to start the search for alien life.

The world's largest telescope was built in Guizhou, a province in China and it will begin its operation by the end of this month. The massive radio telescope took five years to be built. Earlier this year, it was reported that approximately 9,000 residents were relocated to give way to China's search for alien life. The residents were relocated because of their proximity to the telescope that has a 1,640 feet diameter and is believed to be as large as 30 football fields.

During the construction of the telescope, it has become a tourist spot because people would like to get a glimpse of one of the world's biggest telescope, This resulted in the proliferation of stunning images showing how the telescope took shape over the years. By end of the month, the giant radio telescope will begin its operations to hunt for alien life.

The Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is almost ready to operate after five years of construction. The giant dish is said to be capable of detecting even the farthest and weakest radio signals, thanks to its innovative technology.

But searching for extra-terrestrial signals won't be the sole mission of the telescope. It will also look into the Milky Way galaxy and search for the first shining stars. With a technology that vast, it is expected to provide tons of data to scientist worldwide.

"In the first two or three years after its completion, the telescope will undergo further adjustment, and during that period Chinese scientists will use it for early-stage research. After that, it will be open to scientists worldwide," Peng Bo, director of NAO Radion Astronomy Technology Laboratory said in a statement.

This also means that the search for life has gotten even bigger, literally and figuratively as FAST's reach will be wider and farther compared to older and smaller radio telescopes. "China's latest telescope will be able to look faster and further than past searches for extraterrestrial intelligence," Douglas Vakoch, president of METI International, an alien intelligence research organization, said in an interview with CNN.

The project cost $185 million to complete, a project that started in 2011. It is made up of 4,450 panels to form the gargantuan disc. FAST is set to start detecting alien life starting Sept. 25.


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