China seems to be leading the world currently on technological firsts. The Chinese just created the world’s largest radio telescope.
The radio telescope is a five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope(FAST). As Rome wasn’t built in a day, so is the case with the world’s largest radio telescope.
It took five years for the National Astronomical Observation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to build the telescope. It also cost about $180 million dollars (1.2 billion yuan).
The radio telescope is twice the size of the former largest radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
The last of the telescope’s 4,450 triangular panels was fitted into the dish this weekend. The telescope will be launched in September.
Scientists all over the world are currently looking forward to seeing how much the FAST will impact the scientific world when it is launched.
“As the world’s largest single-aperture telescope located at an extremely radio-quiet site, its scientific impact on astronomy will be extraordinary, and it will certainly revolutionize other areas of the natural sciences,” Nan Rendong, chief scientist with the FAST Project, told Xinhua news agency.
The FAST is located in a three-hill valley in China’s southwestern province of Guizhou. The site is well separated from human interference with about a three mile area from the closest human activity.
Peng Bo, director of the NAO Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory has explained that the telescope will not be made available to scientists until the next 2-3 years, that is after it’s been prepared to function at optimum sensitivity.
“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 Xiaonian, deputy head of the National Astronomical Observation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.