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China Space Mission: World's Largest Radio Telescope As Big As 30 Football Fields, Completed For Extraterrestrial Research

First Posted: Jul 07, 2016 04:51 AM EDT
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China finished constructing the world's largest radio telescope. It sits in Pingtang County, southwest of China's Guizhou Province.  

China's largest radio telescope is known as the five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope or FAST, which took almost five years to complete with an expenditure of $180 million. It started in 1994 when China began the plans and probed provinces for potential construction. The FAST has a massive reflector containing 4,450 panels, the same as covering areas of about 30 football fields.

China's FAST will be operational by September and its primary goal is to explore the space for possible extraterrestrial life forms. Although this is the main goal of the telescope, the experts are warning the public not to expect immediate discoveries, TechCrunch reported.

National Astronomical Observatory's deputy head Zheng Xiaonian said that they will be using the telescope for the next two to three years for premature research, debugging, and trial observations by scientists as well as for adjustments.

Following FAST's trial period, it will probably become open to worldwide researchers for use. China aims to find other evidences that would prove the origin of the universe and a space hunt for extraterrestrial life forms. Reportedly, it will also be helpful in finding signs of amino acids in space by using the telescope, proving that there is life outside of Earth.

Over 9,000 people near the area of where the FAST is will be moved and resettled in neighboring areas by September in order for the facility to have total radio silence within the desired five kilometer radius.

China's FAST will help aid in detecting pulsars, gravitational waves, and detect other factors which can help in discovering life on other planets, Xinhua News reported. The FAST was noted to be larger than the Arecibo Observatory located in Puerto Rico, the previously known as the world's largest telescope at approximately 300 meters in diameter.

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