China has developed the world’s largest radio telescope. It is named as the 500-meter (1,640-ft.) aperture spherical telescope (FAST) and will be used by the scientists to study gravitational waves, stellar radio emissions and the potential signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. The FAST telescope will go through the testing phase, next week.
The instrument is located in a mountainous area in southwest China and will become fully operational in the next three years. This telescope was first purchased online two months ago for the purpose of trial.
Before the introduction of FAST, a radio telescope located in Puerto Rico was given the title of the largest telescope in the world but now, more than 9,000 experts and engineers in China have jointly designed a telescope which is larger than the telescope located in Puerto Rico. Its antenna looks like a dish and has a diameter of 500 meters.
Russia has also created a telescope, namely RATAN-600 but it is created by merging a lot of parts and has a smaller diameter. The FAST telescope was created after the experiments of 5 years at the cost of $180m.
This is very exciting. For many years, we have had to go outside of China to make observations – and now we have the largest telescope. People can’t wait to use it.- Said Prof Peng Bo, deputy project manager of the FAST telescope while talking to the BBC News.
China is rapidly progressing in the field of space sciences and we are hearing such stories from China every other day. Similar to NASA’s Kepler telescope, which has recently discovered more than one hundred Earth-like exoplanets, a FAST telescope will discover the planets from the far off places of the universe.