In this Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 photo released by Xinhua News Agency, an aerial view shows the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in the remote Pingtang county in southwest China's Guizhou province. (Liu Xu/Xinhua via AP)
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The world's largest radio telescope began operating in southwestern China Sunday, a project Beijing says will help humanity search for alien life.Built at a cost of 1.2 billion yuan ($180 million), the telescope dwarfs the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico as the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, with twice the sensitivity and a reflector as large as 30 football fields, it said.China sees its ambitious military-run, multi-billion-dollar space program as symbolizing the country's progress.The telescope represents a leap forward for China's astronomical capabilities and will be one of several "world-class" telescope projects launched in the next decade, said Yan Jun, head of China's National Astronomical Observation, according to Xinhua.
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