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The world's largest radio telescope has just been completed

China's 30-soccer-field-wide radio telescope will start the hunt for extraterrestrials.
ScreenShot20160706at1.38.57PM
The world's largest radio telescope, FAST
Xinhua

E.T. may be easier to find now that China has just finished installation of the 4,450 triangular panels on the world's largest radio telescope, the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). The telescope was finished nearly three months ahead of schedule, with the original ETA in September. With its enormous size of 30 soccer fields, FAST has taken nearly five years and $180 million to build. 

So how big is it? One of the scientists that worked on building FAST told Xinhua that if the dish were to be completely filled with wine, there would be enough to give five bottles to all seven billion people on Earth.

The next largest radio telescope is the 305-meter-wide Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico, which was completed in 1963. The Arecibo Telescope has held the crown of largest radio telescope for 53 years. FAST is 64 percent larger.

Nearly 9,000 residents within a five kilometer radius were relocated from their homes during FAST's construction and compensated 12,000 yuan or $1,800 from the Chinese government. 

FAST is tasked with many research projects involving studying strange objects such as quasars, pulsars, and gravitational waves, as well as searching for extraterrestrial life.

"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 to Xinhua.

Source: The Verge

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