China has just launched a new radio telescope. It is one of the largest and most powerful instruments for space exploration. Scientists hope they will provide them with valuable information to better understand the universe around us.
Our knowledge surrounding the universe is still very small, so we are trying to expand it using a variety of instruments. Orbital telescopes allow you to look at other planets and galaxies, while terrestrial radio telescopes search for radio signals that can emerge from the cosmic emptiness.
This second task has been made easier since China has just launched the world’s largest radiotelescope, equipped with a single headlight. The design is called Fast and was made of interconnected 4450 panels and its total area is equal to the area of 30 football pitches. So far the largest single telescope was the construction of the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico, but the work of Chinese engineers surpassed its size.
Thanks to such a large reflector, the Chinese telescope is more sensitive to detect electromagnetic waves from up to 1300 light-years away. And that was only the distance obtained during the initial test, so the actual range could be much greater.
The radio telescope had to be built in a location that was free of radio and electromagnetic waves that could interfere with reception. So it was decided to resettle around 10,000 people living near the site, offering them a new home or cash compensation in return. The total cost of the project was $ 270 million, with $ 180 million spent on the construction of the telescope itself.