'Thank the aliens': Thousands displaced for China's huge telescope

'Thank the aliens': Thousands displaced for China's huge telescope

Humanity's best bet at detecting aliens is a giant silver Chinese dish the size of 30 football fields—one that simultaneously showcases Beijing's abilities to deploy cutting-edge technologies and ignore objectors' rights as it seeks global prominence. The Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in the country's southwest, which began operations in September and cost 1.2 billion yuan ($180 million) to build, is the world's largest radio telescope. Once fully operational, FAST will be able to peer deeper into space than ever before, examining pulsars, dark matter and gravitational waves—and searching for signs of life. Authorities also hope it will bring tourist dollars to the province of Guizhou, one of China's poorest regions. But it comes at the cost of forcibly displacing about 9,000 villagers who called the site in Pingtang county their home. Many were outraged at being forced to leave the valley surrounded by forested karst hills and hundreds of families are now suing the government, with some cases being heard this week. Octogenarian Han Jingfu drank pesticide days after being made to sign a relocation contract and died at his front door, neighbours and relatives said.

Read More: Phys.Org

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