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The world’s largest radio telescope hasbegun operating in south-western China, a project Beijing says will helphumanity search for alien life.

世界上最大的射电望远镜已经开始在中国西南部运行,北京称该项目将帮助人类寻找外星生命。

The five-hundred-metre aperture sphericalradio telescope (acronym: Fast), nestled between hills in the mountainousregion of Guizhou, began working about noon on Sunday, the official newsagency, Xinhua, reported.

据官方通讯社新华社报道,位于贵州山区丘陵之间的500米口径球面射电望远镜(简称:Fast)周日中午左右开始工作。

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The telescope represents a leap forward forChina’s astronomical capabilities and will be one of several “world-class”telescope projects launched in the next decade, said Yan Jun, head of China’sNational Astronomical Observation (NAO), according to Xinhua.

新华社报道,中国国家天文台主任严军说,这架望远镜代表了中国天文能力的一个飞跃,将是未来十年中启动的几个“世界级”望远镜项目之一。



In a test run before the launch, Fast haddetected electromagnetic waves emitted by a pulsar more than 1,300 light years away.

在运行前的一次测试中,FAST已经探测到超过1300光年的脉冲星发射的电磁波。

Earlier, Xinhua cited Wu Xiangping,director-general of the Chinese Astronomical Society, as saying that thetelescope’s high degree of sensitivity “will help us to search for intelligentlife outside of the galaxy”.

此前,新华社援引中国天文学会会长吴祥平的话说,该望远镜的高灵敏度“将帮助我们寻找星系之外的智能生命”。

Experts have been hunting for alienintelligence for six decades, pointing radio telescopes at stars in the hope ofdiscovering signals from other civilisations, but have not yet found anyevidence. Last month, a “strong signal” detected by a Russian telescopesearching for extraterrestrial signals stirred interest among scientists, butexperts said it was too early to make conclusions about its origin.

六十年来,科学家们一直在积极寻找外星生命的证据,并用射电望远镜瞄准那些恒星,希望能够发现来自其他文明的信号,但至今尚未发现任何证据。上个月,一架俄罗斯望远镜探测到的外星信号的“强信号”引起了科学家们的兴趣,但科学家们表示,现在就对它的起源做出结论还为时过早。

The new Fast telescope could “lead todiscoveries beyond our wildest imagination,” Douglas Vakoch, president of METI,a group seeking to send messages to space in search of alien life, told Xinhua.

METI的主席道格拉斯•瓦科赫对新华社说,新的射电望远镜可能会“导致超出我们最疯狂想象的发现”。METI是一个寻求向太空发送信息寻找外星生命的组织。

Construction of Fast began in 2011, andlocal officials relocated nearly 10,000 people living within three miles (5km)to create a quieter environment for monitoring. Mobile phones in the area mustbe powered off to maintain radio silence.

FAST的建设始于2011年,当地官员将近10000名居住在3英里(5公里)内的人重新安置,以创建更安静的监测环境。该地区的移动电话必须关掉电源以保持无线电静默。



In the past, China has relocated hundredsof thousands of people to make way for large infrastructure projects such asdams and canals.

在过去,中国已经搬迁了数十万人,为大坝和运河等大型基础设施项目让路。

The area surrounding the telescope isremote and relatively poor. State media said it was chosen because there are nomajor towns nearby.

望远镜周围的区域是偏远地区,非常贫穷。官方媒体称这是因为附近没有大城镇。

The villagers will be compensated with cashor housing. The budget for relocation is 1.8bn yuan (£208m), it was reported;more than the cost of constructing the telescope. At the beginning of thismonth, reports said 600 apartments had been built so far with the funds.

村民将得到现金或住房补偿。据报道,搬迁的预算是18亿元(2.08亿英镑),比建造望远镜的成本还要高。本月初,有报道称,目前已有600座公寓建成。

China has poured money into big science andtechnology projects as it seeks to become a hi-tech leader, but despite somegains the country’s scientific output still lags behind.

中国在努力成为高科技领导者的同时,也投入了大量的资金用于大型科技项目,但是尽管取得了一些进展,中国的科技产出仍然落后。