China is known for some of the world’s most spectacular monuments but their latest could well be the most ambitious yet.
The nation is building the world’s biggest radio telescope in a bid to hunt extraterrestrial life, according to state media.
The report and images show a mammoth 500m Aperture Spherical Telescope, aptly abbreviated as FAST, which spans 30 football fields across a mountain in the poor south-western provence of Guizhou. The Xinhua news agency says that scientists are already ironing out bugs and putting the telescope through its testing phase under the supervision of the National Astronomical Observation group for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The project will cost China 1.2-billion yuan which is about AU$240 million, a wise investment according to Zheng Xiaonian, the deputy head of the National Astronomical Observation, who predicts that the new telescope will be a global leader in research for the next two decades.
FAST took five years to complete and will begin official operations in September in a move to fast track China’s space exploration program. Alongside this push, President President Xi Jinping is also hoping to put a man and Chinese space station on the moon by the year 2036.
Concerned parties have been assured that China’s program is for peaceful purposes, but the US have already countered that claim with the Defence Department noting that the communist nation is pursuing these projects in a bid to stop potential enemies from using space-based technology during a threat.
More importantly, have the Chinese seen 1995’s Goldeneye?