The scenic spot where the world’s largest radio telescope, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), is located has offered ticket-free entrance to visitors, Xinhua News Agency reported on March 12th.
Before, visitors paid 669 yuan(around USD 97) for a ticket. Now, those who want to take a shuttle bus need to spend 50 yuan(around USD 7), as well as another 50 yuan for visiting the Pingtang International Experience Planetarium, built in the mountains of Pingtang county, southwest China’s Guizhou Province.
The 5,000-square-meter planetarium offers visitors activities and experiences including a space simulator and the chance at playing as an astronaut.
Located in Pingtang, the FAST was unveiled in September last year, aiming to search for gravitational waves, detect radio emissions from stars and galaxies, as well as to listen for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life, reported Xinhua.
In order to reduce interference to the telescope from crowds of visitors, a maximum of 2,000 visitors per day has been set by authorities.
Meanwhile, all mobile signals will be shielded within 5 km around the telescope. Electric products like personal mobiles, digital cameras and smart bands shall be deposited at the service center.
“Pingtang County is hopeful to be an advanced tourism destination for public science education, which will help fuel the local economic development,” said Peng Bo, researcher of the National Astronomical Observatories.
After 22 years of construction, the FAST is still undergoing debugging. In the second half of 2017, it may be put into trial operation, and receive acceptance within two years, according to Liao Fei, director of the Department of Science and Technology of Guizhou Province. – CRI
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