Li Yuecheng, a top regional official, explained to Xinhua that the measure is necessary to “create a sound electromagnetic wave environment” in the vicinity of the device. The resettlement will affect people in four villages located in Pingtang and Luodian Counties, according to officials.
Residents will receive compensation of 12,000 yuan (about $1,838) each. Ethnic minorities affected by the construction will receive extra accommodation support from local ethnic and religious committees, Xinhua noted, citing the official statement.
The telescope, called Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, will be the largest device of its kind worldwide. With a diameter of 500 meters, it will be much larger that the 300-meter radio telescope of the Puerto Rican Arecibo Observatory, currently the world’s largest.
The telescope will not only be enormous, but also highly sensitive and powerful.
“With a larger signal receiving area and more flexibility, FAST will be able to scan two times more sky area than Arecibo [Observatory in Puerto Rico], with three to five times higher sensitivity,” Li Di, a scientist from the National Astronomical Observatories told the China Daily.
FAST has been under construction since 2011 and is said to be costing the Chinese central government some 1.2 billion yuan.
China is heavily investing in its space exploration program. By 2020 the state plans to have an operating orbiting station with a further goal of launching a manned mission to the moon.