The Arecibo Observatory Radio Telescope was the most powerful radar in Puerto Rico, which had been used by many astronomers. However, after the National Science Foundation (NSF) raised many concerns regarding its instability, it was decommissioned by the officials. The whole scientific community mourned the loss of an astronomical milestone. Now, there is only one giant single-dish telescope, which exists in the world. China’s 500 Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) is the only largest radio telescope in the world. It is placed in the Guizhou Province of Southwest China. It has been completed in 2016. The authorities have invested around $171 million to build the observatory. Scientists have taken nearly half a decade to build this observatory. Merely the size of the observatory can detect the radio waves from pulsars and materials in galaxies. Around 300 out of its 500-meter diameter can be utilized at any time. Experts say that it will be able to study the origin and formations of the super black holes. It will be able to read the radio waves to identify the traits of the planets outside the solar system as well in the next decade.
The Chinese officials have said that by 2021, the FAST facility will be available to use for foreign scientists as well. The National Astronomical Observatory, which falls under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is yet to respond on the progress of the telescope. However, experts have said that Arecibo’s telescope has performed a number of functions, which might not be possible for The FAST. Arecibo telescope was used to transmit the signals and receive their signs from the planets for observations within the solar system, whereas the FAST might not be able to do this task on its own. This feature has allowed Arecibo to monitor near-earth asteroids, which is important to protect the earth from space threats.
A researcher Liu Boyang from the Radio Astronomy Research at the University of Western Australia has said that Arecibo has been much ahead of the FAST in terms of functions. However, many experts have said that China has been able to maintain strides within the space race as the US has suffered a setback in recent times. China’s Change’s 5 has recently landed on the moon. It has been successful in collecting the lunar samples. The samples have made their way back to their orbiter. It will prompt the process of their return journey to the earth to deliver the sample. The journey back to earth is expected to take many weeks. The Chinese Space authorities and NASA has recently released pictures of China planting its flag on the moon before starting their journey back to the earth.