There are some pretty big telescopes around the world these days, but now that China have switched on their completely fucking massive FAST telescope, they’re all instantly tiny babies.
How big, you ask? It’s in the name – Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope. That’s right, this thing is roughly the size of 30 god damn soccer fields and now dwarfs the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico by about 200 metres, which previously held the record for the world’s largest single-aperture telescope.
The behemoth telescope was turned on to – among other space-related endeavours – search for alien life. It has twice the field of vision of the Arecibo and is 10 times more powerful than its closest 100-metre German competitor.
“FAST’s potential to discover an alien civilisation will be five to 10 times that of current equipment, as it can see farther and darker planets,” researcher Peng Bo of the National Astronomical Observatories told China’s Xinhua news.
The country invested a massive $US180 million into the construction of the gigantic telescope and had to relocate more than 9,000 residents of the Guizhou province due to fears of magnetic interference. While they were rehoused nearby, it was a controversial move by the Chinese government.
President Xi Jinping clearly has a hard-on for space exploration, making it one of his top priorities for the country. They plan to build a space station by 2022 and get a bloke on the moon by 2036. Chinese astronomers will be given priority at FAST for the first 3 years, after which, scientists around the world can get all up in the 500 metre dish.