China has completed the installation of the world’s largest radio telescope on Sunday. The event was attended by more than 300 people, including reporters, builders and scientists.
During the last phase of installation of the device at Pingtang County’s Karst Valley, the last 4,450 panels were fitted into the device. According to a state media house, China will be using its new discovery in exploring extraterrestrial life and also hunting for the same. The telescope is named Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope or FAST. The size of the device is the same as 30 soccer fields. China plans the launch of the telescope in September following five years of struggle in constructing the device.
“The telescope is of great significance for humans to explore the universe and extraterrestrial civilizations,” a popular science fiction author Liu Cixin said while witnessing the last phase of the installation. “I hope scientists can achieve epoch-making discoveries,” he added.
Meanwhile, National Astronomical Observation’s deputy head Zheng Xiaonian said that debugging and trial observation of the device still need to be done. “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,” he claimed in the report. The deputy head stated that the radio telescope will become the global leader in a decade or two.
For Beijing, China’s space program is a priority as President Xi Jinping is focused on developing the nation as a space power. The reports have indicated the nation’s plan of sending a man to the moon by 2036 and build a space station there, according to the ABC.
NAO director Peng Bo said that in the coming two or three years, the radio telescope will see further adjustments. During the adjustment phase, the scientists will use the device for early researches, he added. “FAST’s potential to discover an alien civilization will be 5 to 10 times that of current equipment, as it can see farther and darker planets,” Xinhua quoted Peng as saying, while referring to the final output that the telescope could yield after final adjustments and experiments.