In China, the world’s largest radio telescope, dubbed the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) project, is being built to help astronomers peer deeper into the dark void of outer space for clues on why we’re here. It’s so large that it would take you at least 40 minutes to walk around the entire thing.
The last time we showed you the progress the FAST project, scientists had only begun to start fastening its 4,450 individual triangular panels across the 500-meter diameter structure. This week, however, it appears that the FAST project, which has been in construction since 2011, is reaching its final stages of construction, which is great news considering the plan was to have the radio telescope completed by September of 2016 so that it could be put to good use.
The massive retina, which is the essential part of the telescope that receives the information from the space-scanning equipment, was installed 160 meters above the structure over the weekend.
"If you compare the FAST to an eye, then the feed source is its retina," said Sun Caihong, a chief engineer with the FAST program, adding, "All signals we collect eventually come here. This is one of our greatest innovations.”
There are still many more triangular panels to place, but you can definitely see from the images that it’s coming together from the last time we showed you progress on the FAST radio telescope. All of the panels are expected to be placed by some time in June of next year, and then testing will follow.
Being that FAST is the world’s largest radio telescope, astronomers have high hopes for what it might discover. Its advanced technology and large size give it advantages over existing radio telescopes, allowing it to see farther into space, and capture clearer visuals.
Source: Daily Mail