Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope being constructed in China

Aug 4, 2015 12:47 IST

The World's Largest Radio Telescope, Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), is being constructed in Guizhou province of south west China, whose dish size will be equivalent to 30 football fields. The technicians began assembling the world's largest radio telescope on 23 July 2015.

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is an Aricibo-type telescope. It is funded by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and managed by the National Astronomical observatories (NAOC) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

FAST is being built in the Dawodang depression in Guizhou Province. The natural landscape provides perfect size and shape for the construction of telescope. The ground also provides enough support for the gigantic telescope. The porous soil forms an underground drainage system to protect the telescope.

Once completed, FAST will be the world's largest telescope, overtaking Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory which is 300 meters in diameter. The construction of the FAST started in March 2011. The project is now expect to be completed by September 2016.

The gigantic radio telescope will cost approximately 1.2 billion Yuan.

About Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope
• The telescope is made up of 4450 reflective panels. Cables are attached to every reflective panel to control its coordinates.
• The telescope has been described as a sensitive ear that will help scientists listen to the universe. It will allow scientists to get weaker radio signals from outer space, even further than our solar system.
• FAST can answer questions not only limited to astronomy but questions about humanity and nature.

Background
The idea of building this radio telescope was first proposed in 1993. However, the project got the approval in 2007 from National Development and Reform Commission, and was accepted in principle in the National High-tech Industry Development Project plan.

Following the approval, the FAST project entered the phase of feasibility study. In 2008, FAST feasibility study report was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission and the project entered the phase of initial design.

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