World’s largest telescope by China to hunt aliens in deep space

The quest for extraterrestrial life is starting in a big way with more and more countries getting into the venture to seek out alien life. Another big ear in this quest was added when the world’s largest filled aperture radio receiver was installed by China. The telescope has been named FAST and researchers from NAOC and Breakthrough Listen will use it to hunt for signals from space.

This week, the National Astronomical Observatories of China or NAOC announced that it would be joining Breakthrough Listen Initiative, which is a $100 million venture to seek out alien life in the vast expanse of space. The research is funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner. It will eavesdrop for any unknown signal sent from deep space. The equipment is five to 10 times more sensitive than present day radio telescope. FAST is the latest addition to a long list of radio telescopes which includes the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia, the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory in California and Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

The 500 meter Aperture Spherical Telescope has been set up in South West China and was complemented in July. It is not only a powerful telescope but its enormous dish of 500 meters will be able to pick up even the weakest radio sources when it conducts its surveys of the sky and the Galactic plane. It will also help to amplify even the faintest signals detected by other smaller radio telescopes.

Though the two superpowers, China and the US do not look one another in the eyes when it comes to Space research since they consider each other as a security threat. Still, a private partnership like the present one will help the scientific community to accrue huge benefits.

Three of the world’s biggest radio telescopes have now been tuned to listen to billions of frequencies; the Earth is looking more carefully for any message from distant and alien civilisation.

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