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The ReasonChina Can’t Find Anyone to Operate Its Alien-Hunting Telescope

中国找到不到人来操作射电望远镜的原因

 

China continues to up its game in spacesciences, including one particularly ambitious project, the world’s largestradio telescope. There’s just one problem: they can’t find anyone to operateit.

中国不断提升自己的太空科技水平,这其中就包括雄心勃勃的世界上最大的射电望远镜项目。

The country’s government is looking to hirea foreigner as chief scientist to oversee the telescope’s daily operation,reports the South China Morning News, and it’s even offering free housing and a$1.2 million salary to boot. But no one has been hired, presumably because ofchallenges associated with the job and the high level of requirements needed toeven apply.

但是这个项目有个问题:找不到人来操作它。据南华早报报道,中国政府正在寻求雇佣一位外国人来当这个项目的首席科学家,总领望远镜的日常运作,除了开出免费住房的条件外还有120万美元的薪水。但目前还没有招到人,招不到人的原因,很可能是因为该工作所带来的挑战和需要的技能水平太高,以致合格者寥寥。

The “Five-hundred-meter Aperture SphericalTelescope”, or FAST, is a $180 million, 1,600 foot-long radio telescope that’scapable of receiving radio signals from as far as 1,000 light years away; makingit a leading instrument in the search for alien life. To give you an idea ofits scale, FAST is roughly the size of 30 soccer fields.

500米口径球面望远镜,简称FAST,是一个耗资180亿美元,直径有1600英尺的射电望远镜,可以接收到远达1000光年外的电讯号,这使得它成为搜寻外星生命的首选设备。如果你不清楚它到底有多大,我们可以拿足球场做个比较,它大概有30个足球场那么大。

In 2016, Breakthrough Initiatives — anorganization founded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner to investigate extraterrestrials— partnered with China to get the telescope online, but despite suchhigh-profile backing, nobody has come forward to fill this managerial role.

2016年,“突破计划”——由俄罗斯亿万富翁尤里米尔纳赞助的旨在寻找外星生命的组织——与中国合作启动该天文望远镜,但即使得到了这么高调的支持,望远镜却找不到人来运行。

There are probably a couple of reasons why:

其原因可能有如下几点:

It's a really, really big telescope.

它真的是一个非常非常大的望远镜。

Although FAST was completed last year, thechief operator would be contending with some significant technical variables.Important components, such as the signal receiver and over 4,500 moveablereflection panels on the telescope’s dish require extensive testing and calibration,according to South China Morning News. A chief operator would likely have notime for their own research, working long and irregular hours, managing thetelescope in its infant years. The project’s location may also seem less thanideal to some, as its nestled in the mountains of Guizhou, a very remote andundeveloped part of southwest China.

FAST去年就已完工,首席操作员需要满足很多高标准的技术因素。据南华早报报道,望远镜的重要组件,比如讯号接收器以及望远镜圆盘上的4500片可移动反射面板,都需要进一步测试和校准。首席操作员将没有自己的研究时间,工作时间长且不规律,在最初几年里都要一直管理望远镜。望远镜的位置对某些人来说可能也不太理想,在中国西南部极不发达的偏远贵州大山里。

It’s become even more remote, in fact,because in February of 2016, the Chinese government evicted about 9,110residents within a 3.1 mile radius of the telescope, claiming they couldpotentially mess with the electromagnetic wave environment, and offering ameasly $1,822 in compensation. It was an unlikely occurrence, considering most(or possibly all) of the rural villagers wouldn’t have sophisticated technologyat their disposal to actually do that. But anyway…

望远镜的地点可不止偏远,2016年12月,中国政府迁移了望远镜周围3.1英里内的9110位居民,并仅对每位居民提供了1822美元赔偿,称他们可能会影响电磁波环境。这种干扰情况不太可能发生,因为他们都是农村村民,根部不会懂得这么复杂的干扰技术。但是搬都搬了……

The candidate requirements are intense,too. The winning applicant must have 20 years of experience and must have helda leading role on a large-scale radio telescope project — because there are somany of those. The job also requires the successful applicant to have held aprofessorship or equally senior role at a highly respected research instituteor university. Wang Tinggui, a professor of astrophysics at the University ofScience and Technology of China told South China Morning News that it’s a tallorder.

招聘条件对候选者的要求很高。合格的申请者必须要有20年参与并领导大型射电望远镜项目的经验——因为这样的人真是太多了。同时要求必须要在名牌研究所或大学担任教授或与此相当的高级职位。中国科技大学的空间物理学教授王廷贵对南华早报说,要求太高了。

“These requirements are very high. It puts most astronomers out ofthe race. I may be able to count those qualified with my fingers.” he said

他说,“这些要求非常高,把大部分天文学家都排除掉了。合格的人我一只手都能数过来。”

“It is not a job for a scientist. It’s for a superhero.”

“这不是在招科学家,是在招超级英雄。”