China has successfully finished the installation of the world’s largest radio telescope with the final panel fitted on the giant dish. The last of 4,450 panels was put in place at the site in Guizhou province on July 3 and signals a countdown to its operation launch in September, reports the People’s Daily Online.
Once fully working, the Five Hundred Metre Aperture Spherical Telescope, also known as FAST, aims to search for signals to understand the origin of the universe and also boost the global hunt for extra-terrestrial life.
The telescope has a diameter of 1,640 feet and is roughly the size of 30 football fields. Adding the final piece to the dish took around an hour. The new telescope is set to be involved in the search for extra-terrestrial life. With its sensitive telescope, it can detect weaker radio signals. It is also due to be used to study the Milky Way in more detail and look for the first shining stars.
The ‘Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope’ or ‘FAST’ cost a whopping 1.2 billion yuan ($179 million) to build. If everything goes to plan, the telescope will launch in September. However the telescope will need an adjustment period.