China launches the Largest Radio Telescope FAST

China’s FAST is Largest Radio Telescope on Earth

Now, China officially has the largest radio telescope in the world.Opened on Sunday, the telescope, Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), beat Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatoryby a diameter of around 195 meters.

To build the telescope, China has spent around$180 million, and put thousands of people out of place to make room for it. It will be used to observepulsars and detect signals coming from an alien world. Like many other telescopes in other worldwide regions, the Chinese telescope will also explore about the evolution of galaxies.

FAST is a very sensitive telescope which, during a test, detected radio waves coming from 1,351 light-years away, saidQian Lei of China's National Astronomical Observation.

FAST will also look for signs of extraterrestrial lifein the universe. According toQian, if humanity finds signs of life in space, their telescope is going to play an important role in it. The signals that aliens may send could be same as the signal when a pulsar is near, added Qian.

This kind of communicationcould be possible in both ways. More than four decades ago,a signal was sent in space usingthe Arecibo radio telescope. It was sent with a graphic, which included information about the solar system, a human-like figure and theArecibo telescope, as per a report of the SETI institute.

Providing more information on FAST project, its deputy project managerPeng Bo said, “The project was exciting for Chinese scientists. For many years, we have had to go outside of China to make observations — and now we have the largest telescope”.

Opening of FAST isn’t the only recent step by China to speed up its efforts in the arena of space science. Earlier, it launched its second space lab Tiangong-2.


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