Beijing: China is aggressively projecting itself to the search for alien life in the universe. As per reports, Chinese scientists are constructing the world’s biggest radio telescope, which will be more effective than any other at picking up weak messages from outer space that could be linked to intelligent life.
Assembly of the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, began in July and is expected to be completed in 2016. Once finished, the reflector dish of the telescope will be 500 metres in diameter, replacing Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory, only 300 metres in diameter, as the world’s largest.
The wider the dish, the more effective the telescope becomes at picking up weak messages from outer space. Nan Rendong, the chief scientist of the FAST project, told the Xinhua news agency: “A radio telescope is like a sensitive ear, listening to tell meaningful radio messages from white noise in the universe.”
“It is like identifying the sound of cicadas in a thunderstorm.”
Rather than sitting above ground, the telescope’s dish is sunken into a natural bowl-shaped valley in China’s Guizhou province. The geography of the surrounding hills and the remoteness of the site mean that there will be less interference from Earth-based radio signals.
The dish will be suspended slightly above ground level by a series of strong pillars and cables, allowing operators to move it and listen in to noises coming from different parts of space. Although the dish is huge, the scientists may have a long wait if they want to pick up on alien radio signals.