Our alien-hunting game just got a lot stronger with the completion of a huge radio telescope in the Guizhou province of China.
It's called the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), and it's designed to listen for signs of alien life out in the cosmos.
"FAST's potential to discover an alien civilization will be 5 to 10 times that of current equipment, as it can see farther and darker planets," Peng Bo, director of the National Astronomical Observatories' (NAO) Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory, told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
In addition to finding any aliens near us, FAST will also be capable of studying the early universe and detect things like gravitational waves.
"Compared with its precursor, Arecibo, FAST has an advantage of a factor of two in raw sensitivity and a factor of five to 10 in surveying speed," according to a description on the telescope's website. "FAST will also cover two to three times more sky area thanks to its innovative design of an active primary surface."
FAST project members will start testing the telescope soon. During the testing phase, FAST will complete some preliminary scientific research, and then it will be available for astronomers to use in about two or three years, Space.com reported.
The telescope is finished, but the construction was not without controversy. Radio telescopes have to be in really quiet areas to work properly, so the builders forced over 9,000 people out of their homes in the Guizhou province of China. The Chinese government plans to have them all resettled by September.
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