China made the world’s largest radio telescope which would help understand the origin of the universe and boost the hunt for extraterrestrial life said Zheng Xiaonian the deputy head of the National Astronomical Observation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The telescope has a 4,450-panel reflector which is as large as 30 football pitches.
Various astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts saw the official launch of the 500 meter Aperture Spherical Telescope’s (FAST) mission in a Karst valley in Pingtang County in Guizhou Province.
The work on this project started back in 2011 which is 17 years after it was proposed by Chinese astronomers. There were nearly 1.2 billion-yuan (USD 180 million) used to built it in Southwest China from where 8000 people have been evacuated since atmosphere is required for the telescope.
FAST would need radio silence within a 5-kms radius due to which over 600 apartments have been built in two new settlements, about 10 kilometers to accommodate the displaced people.
The telescope is aimed at observing deep space. The project is being considered to be the most visible project of China’s plans to transform into a high-tech nation focusing more on research in advanced sciences and technology.
Zhang said that the radio telescope would be the global leader for the next 10 to 20 years.