China will relocate 9,100 residents in the southwestern province of Guizhou to make way for the world’s largest radio telescope which aims to help in the search for alien life.
The 500-meter Spherical Radio Telescope, or FAST, is due to start operation this year, Agence France-Presse reported.
Residents living within five kilometers of the listening device will be moved by September, AFP said, citing a report from the official news agency Xinhua.
The affected residents will receive 12,000 yuan (US$1,800) in subsidies plus housing assistance, the report said.
FAST, built at a cost of 1.2 billion yuan, will dwarf Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory, currently the largest radio telescope which is some 300 meters in diameter.
Wu Xiangping, director-general of the Chinese Astronomical Society, has said FAST’s high level of sensitivity “will help us to search for intelligent life outside of the galaxy”, Xinhua said.
China has ambitious plans in the field of astronomy. It is stepping up a multibillion-dollar space exploration program, which aims to put in place a permanent orbiting station by 2020 and eventually send a manned mission to the moon.
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