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The world's largest radio telescope has opened its doors to the world, despite Washington's ongoing trade war, and has become a symbol of China's rising tech supremacy.
China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is set to open its doors to foreign astronomers in a bid to attract top scientists from around the world. Located in Pingtang, Guizhou, Southwest China, FAST is the world's largest radio telescope and has placed China at the forefront of the race to become the world's leading technology power.
The device has three times the sensitivity of US equivalents and covers an area of 30 football fields, built at a cost of $175m (1.1bn yuan). Construction on the 500-meter wide radio telescope began in 2011 and opened for operations in January this year.
"We drew a lot of inspiration from its structure, which we gradually improved to build our telescope," Wang Qiming, chief inspector of FAST's operations and development center, told AFP in a statement.
The world’s largest single-dish radio observatory, FAST in China, is preparing to open to astronomers around the world, ushering in an era of exquisitely sensitive observations: https://t.co/gdbtPxWgFd
The news comes after the US-owned Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico was destroyed after its 900-ton receiver platform broke and fell 140 meters into its radio dish recently, destroying the device. The National Science Foundation, the owner of the telescope, announced in November 2020 that the telescope with its 305-meter wide dish will be torn down after two support cables broke and damaged the dish beyond repair.
China has devoted $1.4tn into building tech self-reliance through its Made in China 2025 and 2027 military programs, following the Trump administration´s blacklisting of dozens of its mainland tech firms, including Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp, and Shanghai-based chipmaker SMIC, among others, which prompted a tech race.