In radio astronomy, the bigger the telescope, the better. And in 2016, the Chinese are expected to blow the international radio telescope competition out of the water with the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST).
Construction has begun in the Guizhou Province in southern China where the world’s largest single dish radio telescope will take up residency in a natural depression in the landscape, not dissimilar to the world-famous Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. However, FAST will be bigger, faster and more sensitive than Arecibo.
Featuring a 500 meter diameter “dish,” FAST will contain 4,400 triangular aluminum panels, suspended inside the dish, each of which can be adjusted to deform the dish’s overall shape. This ability means FAST, although rooted into the Guizhou countryside, will have some generous maneuverability.