China’s ambitions in space have reached new heights: this week the world’s largest radio telescope began searching for signals from stars and galaxies.
In pursuit of extraterrestrial life, Beijing has poured billions into such projects. China’s military-backed space program funded this latest device, which measures 500 meters in diameter.
The radio telescope cost $180 million and took five years to build. It requires radio silence within a three-mile radius; to accomplish this, China relocated more than 8,000 people from their homes across eight villages.
So far, the telescope has received radio signals as far as 1,350 lightyears from Earth.
Earlier this month China launched the Tiangong 2, its second space station. The nation plans to send a mission to Mars.