China just finished installing the last piece for their world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, that has the size of 30 soccer fields on the side of a mountain in Guizhou province.
According to China’s state broadcaster CCTV, the 500-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope or what they called FAST, it will be used to explore some of the most mysterious objects in the Universe particularly the black holes and pulsars, and it will be used to search for intelligent life from outer space.
The US$185 million telescope will detect radio waves coming from the space in more detail and will let us peer back in time into the web of hydrogen gas that existed before galaxies been formed in the early Universe.
It stated that the telescope was built into a natural depression which protects the device from electromagnetic interference and allows its powerful receiver that was designed with the help of Australian scientists to hone in on signals in space.
The telescope said to be constructed with a similar design to the previous largest radio telescope with 4,450 reflective panels, but it was a lot bigger which Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is only 305 metres in diameter.
The telescope now will undergo months of debugging before it officially begin operations in September according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who oversaw the project with the National Astronomical Observatories.
“FAST will enable Chinese astronomers to jump-start many scientific goals, such as surveying the neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way, detecting faint pulsars, and listening to possible signals from other civilisations,” said Nan Rendong, general engineer and chief scientist on the FAST project.
“It’s time for China to have its own big telescope.” Randong added.
“Understanding the fundamental physics of pulsars will help us understand the Big Bang,” Yue Youling, associate researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories, told CCTV, as Time magazine reports.
“Now we only know what happened after the Big Bang, everything before that relies on our calculation. Therefore, there are a lot of uncertainties.” Youling added.
China also announced that they will be putting a man on the moon by 2030 and have started building their own space station.