Posted by on Thursday, February 18, 2016
The Chinese government is forcing more than 9,000 people to relocate if they live in an area that hosts the world's largest radio telescope. The telescope is designed to look for extraterrestrial life.
The telescope is located in Guizhou in southwest China. It cost $250 million to build.
Construction on the FAST project began in 2011 and is scheduled for completion by September 2016. It will be the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope and three times more sensitive than the Arecibo Observatory.
FAST will have 4600 triangular panels and be similar in design to the Arecibo Observatory, utilizing a natural hollow (karst) to provide support for the telescope dish. As the name suggests, it will have a diameter of 500 metres (1,600 ft).
Unlike Arecibo, which has a fixed spherical curvature (and thus a complex feed system to counter spherical aberration), FAST will use an active surface that continually adjusts to create a parabola aligned with the desired sky direction. FAST will have an effective dish size of 300 m (compared to Arecibo's effective diameter of 200 m). It will be capable of covering the sky within 40° from the zenith (compared to Arecibo's 20° range). Its working frequency range will be 70 MHz to 3.0 GHz.
Those forced from their homes will be offered just over $2,500 in compensation.
Guizhou is a mountainous province in southwest China. It's known for its ancient rural villages, traditionally inhabited by minority groups like the Miao and Dong.