China’s National Astronomical Observatories (NAOC) denied on Tuesday that the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will begin searching for aliens in 2019, in contrast to past comments by Wu Xiangping, director-general of the Chinese Astronomical Society that with FAST “We can receive weaker and more distant radio messages,” said , “It will help us to search for intelligent life outside of the galaxy and explore the origins of the universe,” underscoring the China’s race to be the first nation to discover the existence of an advanced alien civilization.
Having the world’s largest and most powerful new radio telescope, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST),
A viral story entitled “FAST is ready to search for aliens in 2019” published by Chengdu Economic Daily’s Red Star News on Monday triggered heated debates on Chinese social media. The article said a chief engineer of the telescope showed how to conduct the alien search at an office in Southwest China’s Guizhou Province on November 16.
“It’s ridiculous fake news,” the NAOC, which led the construction of the FAST, said about the story when reached by the Global Times on Tuesday. “There are too many irresponsible reports about the FAST,” the NAOC said.
Meanwhile, a Chinese space science expert said the telescope is perfectly suited qualified for the SETI search
“As the world’s largest and most powerful radio telescope, the FAST is competent for the task because it’s designed with high standards,” Jiao Weixin, a professor at Peking University’s School of Earth and Space Sciences, told the Global Times.
This past April, FAST discovered a radio millisecond pulsar (MSP) coincident with the unassociated gamma-ray source 3FGL J0318.1+0252 in the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) point-source list. FAST, operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has discovered more than 20 new pulsars so far. This first MSP discovery was made by FAST on Feb. 27 and later confirmed by the Fermi-LAT team in reprocessing of Fermi data on April 18th.
“The international radio-astronomy community is excited about the amazing FAST telescope, already showing its power in these discoveries. FAST will soon discover a large number of millisecond pulsars and I am looking forward to seeing FAST’s contribution to gravitational wave detection,” said George Hobbs, scientist of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia and member of the Gravitational Wave International Committee (GWIC).
THe Daily Galaxy via Global Times, SCMP, and National Astronomical Observatories (NAOC)