China flips the switch on FAST, the world's largest extraterrestrial-seeking radio telescope

By Shawn Knight · 18 replies
Sep 26, 2016
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  1. Officials in China over the weekend held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of FAST (Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope), the world’s largest radio telescope.

    Located in a mountainous area in the southwestern province of Guizhou, the massive telescope is designed to explore space and search for extraterrestrial life. The telescope consists of 4,450 panels – each measuring 36 feet long – that reflect interplanetary radio waves to a 30-ton “retina” suspended in the middle of the dish.

    Work on the telescope got under way in 2011 and cost the Chinese government roughly $180 million. At 500 meters in diameter, it’s significantly larger than the previous title-holder, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico that measures 305 meters wide.

    Some 8,000 locals had to be relocated to make way for the dish which requires radio silence within a five-kilometer radius.

    As the Xinhua News Agency notes, FAST’s tasks will also include observation of pulsars and the exploration of interstellar molecules. Sun Caihong, its deputy chief technologist, said the telescope is expected to discover twice the number of pulsars as are currently known and is highly likely to make breakthroughs in the study of gravitational waves and general relativity theory.

    For the first two years, the telescope will undergo adjustments and be used for early stage research. After that, however, it’ll be open to scientists worldwide, the publication notes.

    Image courtesy Reuters

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,670   +1,954


    My first message to aliens - "just so, we are not all Chinese here!"

    Not yet...


    This looks too grand to be built on just $180 million budget. Must have been a lot of low-pay workers used for this, which is typical for China.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
    wastedkill likes this.
  3. Icysoul

    Icysoul TS Enthusiast Posts: 35   +13

    This dish is supposed to search for... "interstellar molecules"?! I'm pretty sure someone did not proof read the Google Translation at some point.
  4. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,685   +1,083

    Yup, just a dish observing pulsars and the exploration of interstellar molecules...
    Raoul Duke and Coodu like this.
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +860

    Well, it really is nothing more than a bunch of aluminum panels. So parts-wise, it's going to be relatively inexpensive for a project that size. Nevertheless, $180 million still seems pretty cheap.

    I like the fact that it's going to made available to scientists world-wide after they get the testing done.
    koblongata likes this.
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    It looks like a giant wok capable of cooking for just about the entire Chinese population... and if they fail to find any ET life maybe they'll use it for just that.
    Reehahs, davislane1 and VitalyT like this.
  7. risc32

    risc32 TS Addict Posts: 209   +96

    I think it should read that the people of china paid for it, as governments don't really make money. when they said 8k people had to be relocated, well, I hope they didn't just wake up one morning to a bulldozer and a message to get out, but it's a people's republic, so property rights? we don't need no stinkin' property rights.
  8. Techtree101

    Techtree101 TS Rookie

    This is exciting to see on several levels. Not only is the telescope just plain good for the scientific community, it shows that China is also pushing forward on positive civilization building efforts, but it's just good competition as well. A win-win for us all I think!
  9. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    This is all fine and good until the population asks for the pork fried rice and the Chinese government mistakenly cooks shrimp.
    Skidmarksdeluxe and Reehahs like this.
  10. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 575   +316

    That is hardly a problem. The government will tell them it is pork and tell them to eat it.
    Skidmarksdeluxe and davislane1 like this.
  11. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,350   +2,002

    Hopefully it will last longer than their lunar lander which traveled some ... 50' before it stopped running ...... !
    Reehahs likes this.
  12. maybe they made up some of the cost on the organ sales from any of the 8,000 that complained about relocation. People that need organs will really shell out the bucks.....
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,023   +2,556

    Actually, I take it to mean the Chinese have gotten so rich, they're starting to piss their money away in an ostentatious manner more befitting of the United States.

    Sure, it was $180,000,000.00, but they got 1% back in rewards when they put it on their MasterCard. Ah well, the interest payments will get them.
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  14. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,108   +1,286

    One would say that, if the Chinese actually had any say in what their government does. It's more like "We'll take your money and use it as we see fit. Everything you have is because we let you have it". China is more fascist than anything else.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,023   +2,556

    Most of what the Chinese are doing these days, isn't anything to do with reaching out to the world's people or advancing science.

    It simply is a display of the wealth they've achieved with their "industrial revolution". Well that, and so they can say they've got something bigger, faster, or louder, than anything here in the US.

    Basically what the Chinese government is saying is, "We have bettah things than you, lacky imperialist pig dogs".

    I know right? I'm so old, I remember when the only things which crapped out that fast had, "made in Japan" stamped on them. Ah...., those were the good old days.
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  16. havok585

    havok585 TS Booster Posts: 155   +27

    So much China hate in here, no wonder the world hates US in return.
  17. Well for me, I'm not American, I'm Métis so I'm IN North America. No problems with Chinese people, culture, customs, love Hong Kong movies (try some Stephen Chow comedies sometime).
    Definite problem with Mainland Chinese government aka People's Republic of China, no problem with Republic of China (aka Taiwan). Nothing but death, repression since Mao on a scale unprecedented. Even makes Stalin look like a rookie. It's not just historical, it continues today such as in government control over society, the documented selling of organs from dissenters for a specific example. The Tiananmen Square massacre (1989) shows the government has no problems killing its own people when they disagree with the party line.
    China is also responsible for the creation and continuance of North Korea. They are their responsible for the state's recovery after their unprovoked attack against South Korea and currently North Korea's largest trading partner. That's just off the top of my head so to speak.
    captaincranky likes this.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,023   +2,556

    Great post @Raoul Duke . However, there's very little point in responding to that kid. All he does is dole out his own brand of hate in one liner dogma.

    I am from the US, and I don't believe, "everybody in the world hates us". Mostly, it's the radical religious groups who think their women should be property, and we're still living in the 8th century AD. However, they're not above stealing and using modern weapons to try and prove their point. Oh, and before I forget, another slaughtering civilians with WMD.

    As for me "hating China", I certainly am wary of their government. China is in a transition period as its industrial revolution concludes and it ascends to "superpower status". That's what this antenna is all about, is are the rest of its space programs, which manifest them wanting to be at least on equal footing with the other heavily space involved, nuclear powers.

    Lest we forget, China was under the thumb of the Japanese before WW2. It took a couple of US nukes to "reign in" (*) "Emperor" Hirohito's dreams of world domination, and helped free China from his tyranny.

    (*) So to speak

    Mods: edit line......................................................................................................................................................................................

    While "Havok585" is sometimes on topic, his one line dogmatic attacks often put one in mind of a wannbe reformer or terrorist. Someone with a fantasy they speak for everyone else in the world. Little "blogs", the type of which you have to scour the bowels of YouTube to find one which hasn't been removed.

    He is incapable of differentiating sarcasm and humor from actual "hate speech", and could use a bit of reining in.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  19. Thought for the Day
    “Never argue with an idiiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.” George Carlin

    note: had to double the I or the software put *****, then the quote loses meaning

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