China has almost completed its development of the world's largest radio telescope, according to The Telegraph. The Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will be used to hunt for extraterrestrial life billions of light years away from our galaxy, as well as other space research including hunting for natural hydrogen sources.
"It will help us to search for intelligent life outside of the galaxy and explore the origins of the universe," said Wu Xiangping, director-general of the Chinese Astronomical Society.
China began work on the telescope in 2011 and expects to finish up by September 2016. The telescope currently sits in a rock basin in Pingtang County in China's Guizhou Province, which provides protection to the project thanks to its natural recesses that drain rainwater away with its porous rocks and its distance from neighboring towns that give it "radio silence."
Although China is presently relying on second-hand data to search for extraterrestrial life, the telescope will give them access to more accurate data and is expected to be the most effective radio telescope on Earth, according to Mirror.
"A radio telescope is like a sensitive ear, listening to tell meaningful radio messages from white noise in the universe," said Nan Rendong, the chief scientist of the project. "It is like identifying the sound of cicadas in a thunderstorm."
Astronomers are already predicting that FAST will make new discoveries shortly after it is completed due to its advanced technology, according to the Daily Mail.
"FAST's sensitivity and resolution will allow an extremely comprehensive study of thousands of galaxies in different environments in the local universe," said Lister Staveley-Smith, an astronomer at the University of Western Australia.