FAST is the abbreviation of Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope，which is the No1 largest spherical telescope in the world complete construction on 03 July leaving two months for debugging and test. It has more than 10times of sensitivity over the so-called the largest machine on the earth – OAST One-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope in Bonn of Germany. Fast's precursor, Arecibo, the largest sphere telescope in the world by far has a 305 meters in diameter, situated in Puerto Rico, USA, now has to give place to FAST, because the later has not only larger diameter, but also has an advantage of a factor of 2 in raw sensitivity and a factor of 5-10 in surveying speed, and covers two to three times more sky area thanks to its innovative design of an active primary surface. FAST expects to receive electromagnetic signal from 13.7 billion light years away, can contribute great for deep space exploration.
Why and how such a great project can be built in China only within 6 years? From what i can see:
1st China has a vast needs for deep space exploring, to serve for increasing aerospace research， under the vast needs, the government tend to be resolved to invest in large project.
2nd China has a highly centralized system of government, and therefore has the capability to integrate the resources of R&D, manufacturing, though the government has been being criticized for lack of democracy by some western countries, but it can't be denied that such kind of system is good to fulfill unusual tasks. It can be predicted that there are still more unusual world class large projects from China to exposure to the world.
3rd There is a complete industry manufacturing capability in all aspects, metalworking in the wire cable and adjusting system; optical instrument manufacturing in the reflective panels; electrical and electronic in automation control system, and optical signal processing.
4th The enthusiasm of the astronomy scientists and the members related to the project helps to overcome all the difficulties FAST has encountered.
5th An extremely radio-quite site in southwest China's Guizhou province provide an ideal land resource for FAST to be protected from electromagnetic disruption. Also the Karst landform shape is good to reduce the building cost of the FAST telescope. It can be said the valuable bestow from the nature for China and the human being in the astronomical observation.
6th A creative design of cable-net structure and its operating system enabled Chinese scientists to make a breakthrough of the limit of telescope diameter. If not with this special design, the 30-ton-weight receiver now is said to be more than ten thousand tons, and the total cost to build this huge telescope now at usd180 million is far more achievable.
6th Close international collaboration with many countries, including JBO from UK, CISRO and ATNF from Australia, NFRA from Holland, API from the USA are great contribution as well to the success of the construction of the world's largest telescope.
Here enclosed are two interesting links related to FAST, one from Cisro http://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2016/Australian-technology-behind-the-worlds-largest-telescope
One from BBC
And some interesting photos are enclosed here below:
FAST Construction completed on 03 July of 2016
The last piece of reflective panel fitted on World's Largest Radio Telescope
Installation of triangle reflective panel
FAST cabin harbor
FAST under construction
FAST under construction
Construction of girder ring
Construction of posts for girder ring
A nature nice landform to build large telescope to the least cost
Silent village before FAST project started
Look up the sky from the depression basin FAST situated at
Among the cheerful voices for the completion of the world's largest single-aperture telescope, there is a funny one uttered out from US Defense Department, full of jealousies.