Beijing : China will move nearly 10,000 people to make way for the world’s largest radio telescope which promises to help humanity search for alien life. The Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), nestled between hills in the southwestern province of Guizhou, is due to start operation this year. Provincial officials have vowed to relocate 9,110 residents living within five kilometres of the listening device by September, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The relocations will “create a sound electromagnetic wave environment”, it cited a top regional official named Li Yuecheng as saying. Residents will receive $1,800 in subsidies for their troubles, with some getting extra support for housing, it said. FAST, built at a cost of 1.2 billion yuan, will dwarf the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico as the world’s largest radio telescope, which is some 300 metres in diameter. Wu Xiangping, director-general of the Chinese Astronomical Society has said that the telescope’s high level of sensitivity “will help us to search for intelligent life outside of the galaxy”.