VIDEO: China Finishes Construction of World’s Largest Radio Telescope

Sun Jul 3, 2016 18:11:49

China completed the construction of the world’s largest ever radio telescope on Sunday (July 3) in the hopes of detecting signals from the universe, state media reported.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of the last piece of the 4,450 triangular panels being moved and installed onto the 500-metre-diametre reflector.

The construction of the project started in 2011 with an investment of 1.2-billion yuan ($180 million), CCTV said. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, is the size of 30 football fields and has been hewed out of a mountain in the poor southwestern province of Guizhou.

The telescope, which has taken about five years to build, is expected to begin operations in September, state run Xinhua news agency said.

Advancing China’s space program is a priority for Beijing, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power.

China’s ambitions include putting a man on the moon by 2036 and building a space station, work on which has already begun.

China insists its program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, saying it is pursuing activities aimed at preventing adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.

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