China’s Ambitious Hunt for Alien Life
China announced Tuesday it would relocate 9,110 villagers from the country’s Guizhou province to make way for the largest radio telescope in the world expected to go into operation later this year. Officials in the world’s most populous nation have started their hope that the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) could help in the search for alien life, China’s official wire service Xinhua reported.
“FAST can detect incredibly distant places … even extraterrestrial civilizations,” Wu Xiangping, secretary general of the Chinese Astronomy Society, told state media, the South China Morning Post reported.
The uprooted residents, who all hail from the village of Pingtang, will reportedly receive 12,000 Chinese yuan (roughly $1,838). Any resident who comes from one of China’s 55 recognized ethnic minorities will also receive an extra 10,000 yuan or about $1,534.
FAST, which began construction in 2011, cost more than $180 million and surpasses the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, previously the world’s largest telescope.