The 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), known as the "China Tianyan", has officially begun the search for extraterrestrial civilizations, looking for signals from intelligent life deep in the universe, the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said today.
The search for and monitoring of radio pulsars is a core scientific objective of FAST. And the search for extraterrestrial civilizations is one of the scientific goals of the FAST telescope. In September 2018, researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of California, Berkeley, and Beijing Normal University conducted installation tests on the high-resolution extraterrestrial civilization search backend at the FAST site.
In July 2019, the researchers again analyzed and processed the obtained drift scan data to achieve a frequency resolution of 4 Hz and successfully removed most of the RF interference to screen out multiple sets of narrowband candidate signals.
On April 14, the FAST Scientific Research and Data Processing Center, which will be built in Gui'an New District, has been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission for the feasibility study of the project. The FAST Scientific Research and Data Processing Center project has a total investment of about 170 million yuan and a construction area of 28,000 square meters, including a scientific research center and data processing center. After the completion of the project, "China Tianyan" will finalize the three complete scientific research frameworks of observation, research, and data, providing the conditions for the storage and calculation of the huge amount of data generated by the long-term operation.
"China Tianyan" was conceived by the Chinese astronomer Nan Rendong in 1994 and took 22 years to build and opened on September 25, 2016. It is a radio telescope led by the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, with independent intellectual property rights in China, the world's largest single-caliber, most sensitive radio telescope. Its integrated energy is ten times that of the famous radio telescope Arecibo.Tianyan literally means Eye of the Sky. It is a radio telescope located in the Dawodang depression, a natural basin in Pingtang County, Guizhou.This project is a major national science and technology infrastructure consisting of several parts, such as an active reflector system, a feed support system, a measurement and control system, a receiver and a terminal, and an observation base.