Tag Archives: FAST

China has a giant radio telescope and no one to run it

China’s effort to become a major player in the astronomy and space exploration field has run up against a strange problem.

China has built a staggeringly large instrument in the remote southern, mountainous region of the country called the Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST. The telescope measures nearly twice as large as the closest comparable facility in the world, the US-operated Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Radio telescopes use a large, parabolic dish to collect radio waves from distant sources, such as pulsars and black holes—or even alien civilizations.

According to the South China Morning Post, the country is looking for a foreigner to run the observatory because no Chinese astronomer has the experience of running a facility of such size and complexity. The Chinese Academy of Sciences began advertising the position in western journals and job postings in May, but so far there have been no qualified applicants.

Part of the problem here is that it appears the telescope was built by order of the Chinese government, not Chinese astronomers. It would have been better for China to have built something its own astronomers were qualified to run. Instead, they built something to impress the world, and now can’t find a way to use it.

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China’s giant single dish radio telescope FAST nears completion

The new colonial movement: The completion of FAST, the world’s largest single dish radio telescope in China, nears completion.

The article over emphasizes one of the telescope’s minor research projects, the search for alien life. However, it also provides a good overview of the telescope’s status. The main dish is finished, and they are presently building the instruments that will use that dish to do astronomical research.

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TSA testing non-contact system to detect terrorists before they act

And this is good? The TSA is testing a sensor system for detecting terrorists before they act.

The Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) security programme is designed to spot people who are planning to commit a terrorist act. The U.S. government system can ‘sense’ when you are planning and measures physiological factors such as heart rates and eye movements.

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