Nearly 10,000 residents will be forced to move their homes by September as China prepares to fire up the world’s biggest radio telescope.
Construction on the 500m-wide Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) began nearly five years and the cost has since blown out from 700 million to 1.2 billion yuan.
It dwarfs the current largest radio telescope, the 300m-wide Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, and will be three times more sensitive.
To ensure “a sound electromagnetic wave environment”, regional official Li Yuecheng said anyone living within five kilometres of the dish will be relocated.
Residents affected will get roughly the equivalent of eight months minimum wage – 12,000 yuan – to help them relocate. Extra support will be provided for housing, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Wu Xiangping, director-general of the Chinese Astronomical Society, told Xinhua the telescope “will help us to search for intelligent life outside of the galaxy”.