Credit: New China TV/XinhuaVideo/Inside Outer Space screengrab

 

Equipment attached to China’s 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, is being upgraded to search for extraterrestrial civilizations.

In a China Daily story, Tong-Jie Zhang of Beijing Normal University’s astronomy department explains: “At present, the back-end equipment is being upgraded, and it is expected that new observations can be made after September, when the extraterrestrial civilization search will be launched.”


Credit: CCTV/Screengrab Inside Outer Space

 

Telescope time

FAST is the largest single-aperture telescope in the world; its 19 beam receiver allows rapid and sensitive sky surveys with robust Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) rejection, a key techno-ingredient for SETI activities.

Credit: CCTV/Screengrab Inside Outer Space

The Chinese astronomical community has planned a drift-scan program covering 57% of the celestial sphere called Commensal Radio Astronomy FAST Survey (CRAFTS).

CRAFTS plans to use more than 5,000 hours of telescope time and to commensally analyze the sky survey data to find possible ETI candidate targets and to then do follow-up observations on these targets.

Credit: Bill Schoening, Vanessa Harvey/REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF

In the longer term, FAST is planning a sensitive phased array feed, which could provide roughly 100 simultaneous beams, excellent for a next generation SETI sky survey work.

Resources

For an informative American Astronomical Society video discussing SETI with Dan Werthimer, the Marilyn and Watson Alberts SETI Chair within the Astronomy Department and Space Sciences Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, go to:

https://youtu.be/ANJLjsAeajY

To read — First SETI Observations with China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) – go to:

https://arxiv.org/pdf/2002.02130.pdf

For more information on China’s SETI plans, go to:

China Radio Telescope Embarks on ET Search

http://www.leonarddavid.com/china-radio-telescope-embarks-on-et-search/

Also, go to:

Ready, SETI, go: Is there a race to contact E.T.?

https://www.space.com/seti-race-alien-life-search-china.html

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