The government in China makes 9,000 people move so they can look for aliens by building the world’s largest radio telescope that shames all others constructed. And, if you’re going to look for extraterrestrial life, that’s probably the way to go. For the most part.
- The Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will be 1,640 feet (500 m) in girth, the largest one in the world
- The main purpose of the telescope will be the seek out alien life
- To build it, around 9,110 people will have to move from Pingtang and Luodian counties
- Each individual will be given $1,800 for the inconvenience
There is an international race in being the first country to make contact with alien life or even prove its existence. It’s a commitment that China seems much more invested in than the rest of the world. Now, it’s not only about time and resources spent on such an ambitious project. It’s about even forcing people to move away so they could build a giant telescope that will be the main tool at their disposal.
The behemoth of a telescope is called Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (dubbed FAST) and it’s designed to keep an eye out for alien life. It’s the largest telescope ever made, to stand at around 1,640 feet (500 m), which is almost double to the current record holder. In comparison, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which has a girth of 984 feet (300 m) will look puny next to the Chinese giant.
According to chief scientist from China’s National Astronomical Observations, Li Di, FAST will be able to scan up to twice more areas of the sky than Arecibo, and it will have between three to five times the sensitivity. It’s in their hopes that if there is indeed alien life, this gargantuan will find it.
Unfortunately, that will not come without a cost to the citizens actually living in the area where the radio telescope will be built. In fact, 9,110 villagers residing near the Pingtang and Luodian counties are being moved away. The nice term used is “mass relocation” instead of what it actually looks like, which is more of a forced eviction. However, these have been deemed as mere assumptions since no one has given any clues on whether there is or will be resistance from the villagers.
However, each of the around 2,000 families will be given $1,800 per individual to help with the relocation and find where to live next. Whether that will be enough or not remains to be seen. Regardless, they’re unlikely to stand in the way now that the project is moving forward full steam ahead.
The purpose behind FAST is not only finding E.T. though. China is the leading nation around the world that is sending students abroad, especially for majors such as science or engineering. And, most students who get their PhD in the U.S. rarely return home. With the massive telescope, it’s in their hopes that they will be able to attract some of the brightest minds in science or astronomy.
Since 2008, China has made attempts to make their country more appealing to gifted scientists by offering bigger salaries and higher budgets. It hasn’t worked as well as they liked. Perhaps the telescope’s construction will draw in more talents and serve as a motivation for numerous students in the domain to return home. When such exceptional qualities are boasted, it is possible that many scientists will want the opportunity to test it out.
Image source: aljazeera.com