Recently, the scientific community has been seriously weakened by the paralysis and subsequent collapse telescope Arecibo Observatory, one of the most important structures in the world for visualizing space. But the Chinese want to make up for that loss and, starting in April, will make the 500-meter Aperture (Fast) Spherical Radio Telescope for researchers around the world.
The National Astronomical Observatory of China announced on Monday (4) that scientists from any country will be able to make online requests to use the device for observation from April 1. A stipulated time will be released until August 1st. "Chinese scientists also need to complete the online application formality," explained Fast's chief engineer, Jiang Peng, to the state agency Xinhua.
In the first year of opening the telescope to the international scientific community, around 10% of the observation time will be allocated to foreign scientists. Located in southwest China's Guizhou province, Fast is considered the most sensitive radio telescope in the world. The equipment was built in 2016 and started operations on January 11, 2020.
Among other objectives, the instrument will be used in the search for exoplanets e extraterrestrial life. With 500 meters in diameter, the Fast is 200 meters larger than the Arecibo Observatory, and occupies an area equivalent to 30 football fields. So far, the radio telescope has registered 240 pulsars.
The Chinese government has invested more than US $ 180 million in the project that had to expropriate the homes of hundreds of residents in the vicinity of the site, in order to avoid radio frequency interference.