China Will Use World’s Largest Radio Telescope To Listen For Aliens

It seems like the U.S. locks horns with China over so many things these days, like whether they should own most of the South China Sea or whether their military is hacking computer networks at U.S. companies. So it’s great to see the two nations do have things in common — like desire to discover alien life! On Sept. 25, China officially opened the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), which finished construction in July in Guizhou Province, some 1,240 miles southwest of Beijing. At 1,650 feet (or 30 football fields wide), it is by far the largest radio telescope ever constructed, dwarfing the 1,000-foot Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Not so big now, are you? The Arecibo Observatory. | Isaac Ruiz Santana/Getty

(America’s creatively named Very Large Array in New Mexico covers more area, but is made up of smaller dishes.)