When it comes to the international race to find alien life, it appears China is leading the charge. According to the Xinhua News Agency, the country has just completed what will be the biggest radio telescope in the world. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will be used to explore space and assist in the hunt for extraterrestrial life.
At the size of 30 football fields, the telescope, located in the southwestern province of Guizhou, is almost five times largest than the second-largest telescope. Now that construction is complete, Chinese scientists are beginning to debug the telescope and perform trials.
“The project has the potential to search for more strange objects to better understand the origin of the universe and boost the global hunt for extraterrestrial life,” Zheng Xiaonian, deputy head of the National Astronomical Observation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, says.
The $135 million radio telescope is expected to be a global leader for the next two decades. The wider the telescope, the more radio waves it will collect. This telescope will be used to detect even the weakest signals.
FAST was built in the Dawodang depression in Guizhou Province, where the natural landscape provides the perfect size for the construction of the telescope and the ground provides enough support. Removed from society, the depression is also isolated from magnetic disruptions.
Over the past few years, advancing China’s space program has become a priority for Beijing, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power.