Science 04 Jul 2016 World’s larges ...

World’s largest telescope FAST is ready for operations in China

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jul 4, 2016, 1:53 pm IST
Updated Jul 4, 2016, 1:57 pm IST
The telescope, which took about five years to build, is expected to begin operation in September.
The “Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope”, or FAST costing $180m, is reported to be the size of 30 football fields.(Photo: Xinhua)
 The “Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope”, or FAST costing $180m, is reported to be the size of 30 football fields.(Photo: Xinhua)

China has installed the final piece of what will be the world’s largest radio telescope, aimed to explore the space and help look for extraterrestrial life, state media reported.

According to Xinhua, a Chinese news agency, the last of the 4,450 panels was fitted into the centre of the big dish on Sunday.

 

The “Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope”, or FAST costing $180m, is reported to be the size of 30 football fields.

'Scientists will then begin debugging and trial observation of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST)', said Zheng Xiaonian, deputy head of the National Astronomical Observation (NAO) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which built the telescope.

'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', said Zheng.

 

China has stated that its program is for peaceful purposes. However, the US defence department has said it is pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.

The telescope, which took about five years to build, is expected to begin operation in September.

However, in the first two or three years, the telescope will undergo further adjustments, and during that period Chinese scientists will use it for early-stage research. After that, it will be open to scientists worldwide, said Peng Bo, director of the NAO Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory.

 

The FAST will replace Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, which is 300 meters in diameter, as the world’s largest telescope.

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