China Forcing 9,000 People from Their Homes to Make Room for World’s Largest Radio Telescope

Due this September: the world’s largest radio telescope, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Name: FAST, an acronym derived from Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope.

Where: Guizhou Province, China, an isolated region deep in the Karst mountains.

Cost: Unreported, although 9,000 Chinese residents are being forced to move out of their homes to make room for the massive instrument. The Chinese government is reimbursing the residents to the tune of roughly $1,530 per person.

Structure: 4,500 36-foot panels reflecting interplanetary radio waves to a 30-ton retina. The telescope will have a diameter of 500 square meters; the largest current telescope in the world is in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, boasts a 300-square-foot diameter.

Last November, Li Di, a chief scientist from the National Astronomical Observatory of China, informed the China Daily, “With a larger signal receiving area and more flexibility, FAST will be able to scan two times more sky area than Arecibo, with three to five times higher sensitivity.”

Wu Xiangping, the director-general of the Chinese Astronomical Society, told Xinhua that FAST would “search for intelligent life outside of the galaxy and explore the origins of the universe.”

Beijing’s Olympic organizing committee and China’s Foreign Ministry admitted in 2007 that at least 6,000 people were displaced since 2002 for the construction of Olympic stadiums for the 2008 Olympic Games.


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