The Guizhou FAST

Culture

The Guizhou FAST

by Live in Guizhou


Image Source: Xinhua News

The Guizhou FAST, founded in 2016, is also known as China’s gigantic five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, a single-aperture telescope the size of 30 football pitches, located in Guizhou province in southwestern China. The facility, surpassing the second-largest by 200 meters in diameter, is described as a game-changer in space research.

The FAST’s large hemispheric surface comprises 4,450 reflecting panels, each weighing 427 to 482.5 kilograms. The first panel was installed in August 2015. Patching all the panels together took 11 months. The telescope is located in an almost-perfect spherical landform, so digging a hollow for it was unnecessary.

The valley in Guizhou was also chosen for its karst landform, which ensures good drainage, meaning rainwater won’t gather and damage the reflecting surface. The FAST has already had a good start, scientists say. In a recent test, it received a set of high-quality electromagnetic waves sent from a pulsar about 1,351 light years away.

The launch of FAST symbolizes a breakthrough in China’s scientific research. It has great significance for the country’s strategy to push forward innovation. The FAST will search for gravitational waves, detect radio emissions from stars and galaxies, and listen for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life.