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World’s largest alien-hunting telescope now operational



World’s largest alien-hunting telescope now operational
After years in development, construction workers slotted into place the final piece of the 500-meter aperture spherical telescope (aka FAST) back in July.
And following months of testing, FAST (the world’s largest alien-hunting telescope) became fully operational on September 25.
The giant telescope will aid in China’s quest to achieve “major advances and breakthroughs at the frontier of science,” China’s President Xi Jinping said in a congratulatory message on Sunday.
Calling the telescope the nation’s “eye in the sky,” Xi and other Chinese officials certainly have high hopes for the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope.
It’s a symbolic achievement for China, which is aiming to prove not only its economic well-being, but its scientific prowess as well. “Astronomy is an ultimate expression of ‘pure’ science that has little immediate practical benefits,” Luis C. Ho, the director of the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, told the New York Times via email. “It is a luxury that only the most advanced economies enjoy.” And now, it’s a luxury that exists in the backyard of one of China’s most impoverished areas.



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