China Launches World's Largest Radio Telescope In Hunt For Extraterrestrial Life

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China officially opened operations of the world's largest radio telescope which will be used for space research and help in the hunt for extraterrestrial life.

Written By Bhavya Sukheja | Mumbai | Updated On:

China officially opened operations of the world's largest radio telescope which will be used for space research and help in the hunt for extraterrestrial life, a state media outlet reported. The telescope known as FAST or Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope is reportedly the size of 300 football fields and has been hewed out of a mountain in the southwestern province of Guizhou. According to an international media outlet, the telescope in China is also known as 'Sky Eye'. 

The telescope has also received national approval to start operations and it finished the construction in 2016 and ever since then it has been undergoing debugging. While speaking to an international media outlet, FAST's Chief Engineer Jiang Peng said that the telescope's trial operations had so far been reliable and stable. He further also added that its sensitivity was more than 2.5 times that of the world's second-largest telescope. 

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According to further reports, the advancing China's space programme is a priority for Beijing and the country has set a target to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030. China's recent FAST project has reportedly also obtained some valuable scientific data over the time and is expected to help lead to some breakthroughs in areas such as low-frequency gravitational wave detection and interstellar molecules in the net three to five years. 

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New planet

While China is trying to find for extraterrestrial life, a 17-year-old New Yorker discovered a new planet orbiting two stars in the third day of his internship at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Wolf Cukier joined NASA after finishing his junior year at Scarsdale High School with the job of examining variations in star captured by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and upload it to the Planet Hunters TESS citizen project. While looking through the telescope a solar system 1,300 light-years from Earth called TOI 1338. The planet is now named TOI 1338 b. 

According to the official website, Cuckier said, “I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary, a system where two stars circle around each other and from our view eclipse each other every orbit. About three days into my internship, I saw a signal from a system called TOI 1338. At first, I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet.”

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