Search for Alien Life: China’s Giant Telescope Starts Operating
For ages human beings have been obsessed with Alien life. We have seen movies emerged that try to depict how our encounter with aliens would be like. In some, human beings co-exist with aliens peacefully. In others we are enemies with aliens. There are also movies that show aliens fighting against other aliens to protect the human race.
But the reality of the matter is that there is no alien life that has been found so far. Yes, signs have emerged that support the existence of alien life but that’s all we have, just signs.
A different country has now stepped into the search with a bigger tool – much bigger tool. The Chinese telescope name FAST is now operational and is searching for alien life.
FAST comes in a whooping 500 meter diameter, which is the size of 30 football fields. It will be used in detecting radio signals – an indicator of life – in distant planets.
The president of METI International (an organization that detects alien intelligence), Douglas Vakoch, said that “China’s latest telescope will be able to look faster and further than past searches for extraterrestrial intelligence.”
FAST has been erected in Southwest China which is known for its hollow mountainous landscape. It is already up and running.
Whenever a telescope opens its “eyes” for the first time, scientist call the phenomenon “first light.” FAST has wide eyes, really wide, and that means it will have a bigger view of the universe in a much better way than any other given telescope.
[photo courtesy: Getty Images]
Largest telescopes in the world
FAST – 500 m >>>>> China
Arecibo – 305 m >>>>> Puerto Rico
Green Bank – 100 m >>>> United States
Jodrell Bank – 76 m >>>> United Kingdom
Russia has also had a significant role in this field with its RATN-600 that has a diameter of 576 m, bigger than FAST. However, it is not a single dish but rather a collection of smaller dishes that are smaller than FAST and Arecibo.
A move in the right direction
This project was launched in 2011 at a budget of $185 million. The 4,450 triangular panels were lowered into place in July 2016.
The structure is big, making it difficult to move but the panels are adjustable.
A professor of Data Intensive Research at the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research in Australia, Andreas Wicenec, said “You can control the surface to point at certain points in the sky. A mesh of steel ropes allows a hydraulic push and pulls mechanism.”
Located in China’s Guizhou province, the giant telescope could never have been to a better place. This is an area that was arrived at after a research of over 10 years in which 400 places were considered. The valley is egg-shaped while the surrounding mountains offer a great shield against frequency interference.
The selection of this meant that the prior residents had to be relocated. 9,110 villages have been moved so as to create the much needed space. That will help in improving the listening capabilities of the telescope.
One villager told the local media, Xinhua, that she had never thought a telescope would make her leave her residence. Her son now sees a business opportunity in this. He plans to construct a restaurant with the hope that tourists will be attracted to the area.