Dish with reflector as large as 30 football pitches will listen for signs of intelligent life and is one of several ‘world-class’ projects

The world’s largest radio telescope has begun operating in southwestern China, a project Beijing says will help humanity search for alien life.

The five-hundred-metre aperture spherical radio telescope (acronym: Fast), nestled between hills in the mountainous region of Guizhou, began working about noon on Sunday, the official news agency, Xinhua, reported.

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