The Twenty First Century space race decided. The superpower becomes the first to make contact with alien life. And it looks like China may beat everyone else to the punch.
China already operates the world’s largest radio telescope, the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). But this week, the country also approved plans for the Xingjiang Qitai 110m Radio Telescope (QTT). A new telescope with a steerable dish that’s 10 percent larger in diameter. The Green Bank telescope in West Virginia, which was previously the largest steerable telescope in the world. China’s new telescope will have the ability to cover 75 percent of the sky.
Fully steerable radio telescopes like these are essential for detecting specific signals, as they can be moved, rotated, and aimed at specific targets. The telescope will operate at 150 MHz to 115 GHz, frequencies optimized to conduct research on gravitational waves, black holes and dark matter.
“The antenna, the world’s largest, will be able to trace the origins of any signals received,” said Song Huagang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Xinjiang observatory in a statement.