Gigantic radio telescope: Scientists told local residents that the telescope can reach aliens in outer space. It will reach outside the solar system. Image: Xinhua / Landov / Barcrott Media
China is building the world’s largest radio telescope in Guizhou province, Xinhua news agency reports.
Construction for the Aperture Spherical Telescope started in March 2011. The project is now expect to be completed by September 2016.
Around 9,110 people from the Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, have been asked to relocate by the authorities in order to provide a better environment for the radio waves, the People's Daily Online reports recently.
The gigantic radio telescope, cost approximately 1.2 billion Yuan (£120 million), will allow scientists to get weaker radio signals from outer space, even further than our solar system, reported People's Daily Online.
Construction: It takes more than five years to build the world's biggest single-aperture radio telescope. It's on schedule for completion in 2016. Image: Xinhua / Landov / Barcrott Media
Li Di, the chief scientist of the National Astronomical Observatories Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: ‘FAST will remain the best in the world in the next twenty to thirty years after it is completed.’
The idea of building this radio telescope was first proposed in 1993.
But it was only approved in 2006 after an international review and advisory conference on the science and technology of FAST.
It has been described as 'ears' and will help scientists listen to the universe.
Every reflective panel is controlled by cables to ensure radio signals can be recorded from every angle. There will be 4,450 panels altogether. Image: Xinhua / Landov / Barcrott Media
Scientists from different fields, including physicists, geologists and astronomers, welcomed the construction of the new telescope as it will boost the human capacity to observe outer space.
Chen Xuelei, a physicists said that the data can help prove Einstein’s relativity theory once more data of gravitational waves can be retrieved from the telescope.
Li Di added: 'FAST can answer questions not only limited to astronomy but questions about humanity and nature. The scientific potential of this telescope is hard to predict.’
The telescope is made up of 4,450 reflective panels. The size of the dish will be about thirty football pitches.
Cables are attached to every reflective panels to control its coordinates.
Locals: The isolated area has sixty five residences and they are incredibly proud of the telescope, which should not impact the surrounding area. Image: Xinhua / Landov / Barcrott Media
The intricate design allows scientists to shift the dish to receive radio signals from different angles.
Li Di said : ‘The biggest challenge of this project is to calculate quickly and attached these data to thousands of computers to change the direction of such a gigantic telescope.
'We will be using lasers to pinpoint the exact coordinates, accurate to millimetres.’
The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will lose its title as the largest single aperture radio telescope ever constructed.
The Chinese FAST will be able to survey the outer space ten times better than Arecibo.
‘We are aiming to discovering something that is worthy of a Nobel Prize. Although we built the telescope, we welcome scientists from all around the world to use it,’ Li Di added.
River basin: The telescope is built in a natural depression, lowering the cost which is estimated to be 1.2 billion Yuan (£120 million) in total. Image: Xinhua / Landov / Barcrott Media
FAST is built in the Dawodang depression in Guizhou Province.
The natural landscape provides the perfect size and shape for the construction of the telescope. The ground also provides enough support for the gigantic telescope.
The porous soil forms an underground drainage system that protects the telescope.
With only one town in the 12 miles radius, the Dawodang depression is extremely isolated from magnetic disruptions.
The remoteness of the location also protects the surrounding landscape from any damage.