China to officially start searching for aliens in September

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China is going to start searching for extraterrestrial life this year. Zhang Tongjie, a chief scientist leading China’s search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) says the massive Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will “officially” start its hunt in September this year, according to the state-run news outlet Science and Technology Daily.
Construction of the FAST telescope started in 2011 and was completed in 2016. It officially went into operation in January when it opened to astronomers around the world.
In March, SETI scientists published a research paper concluding their preliminary observation results with FAST. It includes research on how to improve the telescope’s ability to remove radio frequency interference from Earth and identifying “interesting narrowband candidate ET signals” that could have come from extraterrestrial civilizations. The telescope is currently undergoing an upgrade.
In a speech in March, Zhang said it will take further examination to see which of those signals could actually be from extraterrestrials, but it’s most likely that none of them are. Zhang also said that the search for aliens will not interfere with the normal scientific observations that FAST is tasked with. That includes discovering pulsars and other interstellar radio signals that may offer clues about the formation of the universe.
This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (, the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
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