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Over 2000 Chinese families relocated for the world’s largest radio telescope is an act conducted in the name of science. The 500-meter aperture spherical telescope FAST is due this September.
When the project is completed in September 2016, FAST will dwarf the current largest radio telescope located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. News from China and not only reported that over 9,000 people would be relocated from the Guizhou province to neighbouring provinces to allow the proper functioning of FAST.
However, each of the relocated persons will receive a government subsidy of roughly 1,800 dollars. In addition, the Chinese government is offering relocation subsidies for housing and additional fees. The relocation is necessary as the 500-meter aperture spherical telescope needs absolute radio science within a 5km radius of the telescope.
Why is absolute radio science necessary? Because FAST, as the largest radio telescope in the world will have a lofty mission. Among peering into the depths of the universe, it will also listen carefully for extraterrestrial signals. Given that the almost due world’s largest radio telescope will have 3 to 5 times the sensitivity of the Arecibo radio telescope, new scientific horizons are looming.
As such, according to Xinhua (Chinese national owned media), over 2000 Chinese families relocated for the world’s largest radio telescope is necessary to create the electromagnetic environment for FAST to operate in. The project for the 500-meter aperture spherical telescope was proposed over 20 years ago for the first time. With the necessary tweaks, the construction of FAST began in 2011. Now, the 182 million dollars project is due in September 2016.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute will benefit greatly from the completion of the Chinese government-backed FAST. Li Di, chief scientist with China’s National Astronomical Observatories declared:
“With a larger signal receiving area and more flexibility, FAST will be able to scan two times more sky area than Arecibo, with three to five times higher sensitivity”.
The 500-meter aperture spherical telescope comprises 4,450 panels. Each of the individual panels can be controlled and positioned to an 1mm accuracy. All 4,450 panels will redirect the radio signals captured from the universe to the 30 tonnes retina part of FAST.
Photo Credits: yibada.com