China on 25 September 2016 officially launched the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in a mountainous region of Guizhou province.
The telescope was launched to hunt for extraterrestrial life and explore space.
Key highlights of Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope
• The FAST is a radio telescope located in the Dawodang depression, a natural basin in Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, southwest China.
• It consists of a fixed 500 m dish constructed in a natural depression in the landscape.
• It is the world’s largest filled aperture (single dish) radio telescope.
• It is the second largest radio telescope after the Russian RATAN-600.
• The final cost of the project is 180 million US dollars.
• Construction on the FAST project began in 2011 and was completed in July 2016.
• The chief scientist of the project is Nan Rendong.
• It has a fixed primary reflector located in a natural hollow in the landscape, focusing radio waves on a receiver suspended 140 m above it.
• The reflector is made of perforated aluminium panels supported by a mesh of steel cables hanging from the rim.
• Its surface is made of 4450 triangular panels, 11 m on a side, in the form of a geodesic dome.
• It is capable of pointing anywhere within ±40° from the zenith.