World's Largest Radio Telescope Doubles as Tourist Trap
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
World's Largest Radio Telescope Doubles as Tourist Trap

(Yicai Global) Sept. 27 -- China is using the world's largest radio telescope to search for extraterrestrial life this week. The Chinese government has invested nearly USD180 million (CNY1.2 billion) to build the Five Hundred Metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in a remote village in Guizhou province. Some 9,000 local residents had to be relocated because of the facility.

Many media have noticed the state-of-the-art technology of the telescope. Less attention, however, has focused on a 300-hectare FAST-themed park near the colossal scientific research facility. The CNY18 billion theme park will include an astronomy-centric tourist district and a geological park featuring karst topography, a specific limestone feature of the local topography, and which forms a large bowl incorporated into the telescope's reception area.

Facilities already built in the theme park include a tourist services center, a themed hotel, a guest square, a planetarium and scenic spots along a river. These had already been put into operation as of Aug.

This month tourists can buy a CNY368 ticket to tour the FAST "scenic district." This ticket price may rise to CNY688 in the future, more than tickets to Shanghai Disney Resort, which cost just CNY499 during peak period.

To ensure that the work of the scientific research facility is unaffected, tourists are required to deposit their electronic devices -- including cell phones and digital cameras -- before entering an area within the five-kilometer radius of the telescope. Up to 2,000 tourists are allowed daily.

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