China’s enormous Radio Telescope is already picking up mysterious signals

The mysterious Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are energetic radio signals that are much louder than pulsars despite being much further away

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), a project that the Chinese government first began planning in 2008, is now fully operational. By the end of September 2019, the $171 million USD (1.2 billion CNY) FAST project will undergo a last review process, which the Chinese government anticipates will give the go signal to begin studying the skies.

“We fully expect a successful review at the national level, and then we’ll transition from being a construction project to a full facility,” says Li Di, FAST’s chief scientist and leader of the radio astronomy division of the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), in a press statement.

“Once we pass this review, FAST becomes an accepted telescope for exploring the Universe,” says Jiang Peng, FAST’s chief engineer and deputy director of FAST Operation and Development Center, NAOC. “FAST has been open to Chinese astronomers since April 2019. After the National Construction Acceptance, it will be open to astronomers across the world.”

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