If the truth is ‘out there’, as they say, then it looks like China may be the ones to find it.
However, their quest to explore the furthest reaches of space is moving forward at the expense of their own citizens as roughly 10,000 residents living near the world’s largest radio telescope – currently under construction – are being forced out of their homes.
The dish is located in Guizhou in southwest China, and the government plans to relocate people within a 5km radius before its completion, reports Xinhua.
Li Yuecheng, secretary-general of the CPPCC Guizhou Provincial Committee said: “The people need to be moved in order to protect the telescope, which needs a sound electromagnetic wave environment.”
According to Mashable, affected residents will reportedly get around 12,000 yuan (£1,300) from the government to help them relocate, and ethnic minorities who face difficulties in finding housing will get an additional 10,000 yuan (£1,050).
The report did not specify how residents would apply for the additional subsidies.
China hopes the enormous five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) – due for completion in September – will further mankind’s efforts of detecting extraterrestrial life.
Construction on the telescope started in 2011 at a reported cost of 1.2 billion yuan (£127 million) and when complete it will eclipse the next largest radio telescope – the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico – by 200m in diameter.
The FAST dish is more or less the size of 30 football fields and will be lined with 4,600 reflective triangular panels that will focus radio waves, allowing researchers to detect signals from tens of billions of light years away.
I’m sure local residents will be comforted by that as they try to find themselves a new home…