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Giant radio telescope sets date for ET hunt

By T.K. Randall
June 2, 2020 · Comment icon 9 comments

FAST is currently in the process of being upgraded. Image Credit: NAO / FAST
China has announced when its 500-meter FAST telescope will begin searching for intelligent alien life.
Situated in southwest China's Guizhou Province, the 500m-wide Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) cost $180 million to build and is around the size of 30 football pitches.

The enormous telescope is almost twice as large as the previous record holder - Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory - and is ten times more sensitive than Germany's Effelsberg telescope.

Its scientific goals will include studying pulsars, detecting interstellar molecules, conducting a large scale neutral hydrogen survey and looking for evidence of extraterrestrial communications.
Given that FAST is already tipped to be three times as sensitive as the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico, it should be very interesting indeed to see what, if anything, it manages to pick up.

Now according to state media outlet Science and Technology Daily, China's hunt for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence is set to begin this September.

Chief scientist Zhang Tongjie has stated that there are some "interesting narrowband candidate ET signals", however he has also stressed that it is unlikely that any of them are alien in origin.

That said, if there are any signals out there, FAST will certainly be in with a chance of picking them up.

Source: Engadget | Comments (9)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by sci-nerd 4 years ago
11 messages. 11 destinations out of billions. In a 54 year period. That's all humanity has broadcasted. Ever. A very narrow window, given our 300,000 year existence as an intelligent species. The first of those 11 RB's will arrive in 2029. The last will arrive in the year 25,974. It is now being considered, if we should stop completely, due to the risk of hostile aliens. So the question is: Why are we listening, when we know such an RB window can be so narrow? And that intelligent beings are unlikely to expose themselves in the... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by NCC1701 4 years ago
Because we can.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 years ago
Total and utter nonsense.  Even a very basic understanding of radio signals should make it obvious that the fact that we have only transmitted 11 DELIBERATE message is not the same thing as saying that is all the signals humanity has broadcast ever. Every radio signal, every TV transmission has left this planet and leaked into space. In certain wavelengths the Earth outshines the sun. Our presence is detectable to any alien species with a radio telescope. Any sufficiently advanced civilisation within a 100 light years knows we are here. If there are alien races out there that use radio comm... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by sci-nerd 4 years ago
I disagree. Those signals have the strength of a ripple passing the Pacific ocean. Undetectable several light years away. But I'm not getting into an argument with you again. I've had enough of your obsession with anything space related. Had enough of you. Don't bother replying.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Stiff 4 years ago
Well, if it was 'Made in China' it will only last a couple of months at best before it's broken.
Comment icon #6 Posted by bison 4 years ago
Those observations about how our routine radio transmissions can be detected over only very short distances, cosmically speaking, are typically based on the assumption that their receivers are about as good as our own. There's nothing to stop a much more technically advanced species from making radio telescopes substantially, or even hugely better than our's. Its even been shown that it would be possible to use a star, as if it were a lens, to collect radio, or any other electromagnetic energy. That would make for a collector area millions of times greater that our best efforts, with propo... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by tmcom 4 years ago
An advanced race would have a true quantum computer and telescopes on every planet in their solar system, so they could directly see the Earth, and a good number of others in our galaxy, then also see if pollution is present or structures. And if they collabrated with other species, then our entire galaxy's habitable planets are already mapped out.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Aaron2017 4 years ago
Classic opening scene.   What do aliens hear?  
Comment icon #9 Posted by Eldorado 3 years ago
China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), the world's largest single-dish and most sensitive radio telescope, will officially open to the world starting Wednesday. Astronomers worldwide can visit to submit their applications for observations, said the National Astronomical Observatories under the Chinese Academy of Sciences in a statement. All foreign applications will be evaluated, and the results will be announced on July 20. Observations by international users will begin in August. [More]

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