China's Alien-Hunting Radio Telescope Ready To Go Operational

International Business Times

The world's largest radio telescope -- built by China -- is set to go operational in September, over two decades after it was first proposed. The telescope's last of 4,450 panels was assembled Sunday. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope took five years to build and China plans to use it to search for extraterrestrial life. The 1,640 feet diameter FAST can accommodate 30 football fields. Scientists will kick off debugging and trial observation of the telescope, Zheng Xiaonian, deputy head of the National Astronomical Observation (NAO) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which built the telescope, told the official Xinhua News.


NASA's 'armored tank' Juno ventures into a fierce realm of radiation, hunting for Jupiter's secrets

Los Angeles Times

Late at night, when the halls around her were empty, Heidi Becker positioned her subject in the crosshairs of an electron-shooting linear accelerator. Along with her companions, she arranged a cartload of heavy lead bricks to make sure the deadly radiation would hit only its intended target. By day, the accelerator at the Curie Institute hospital in Paris was used to kill tumors in cancer patients. This time, its lethal gaze would be aimed at an early version of the star tracker aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft, which is set to enter Jupiter's orbit on July 4. The instrument will play a key role in helping scientists determine Juno's orientation as it takes billions of high-definition measurements of Jupiter's punishing magnetic field. At the hospital, Becker and her fellow engineers were doing their best to mimic the lethal forces the star tracker would face.


NASA's 'armored tank' Juno ventures into a fierce realm of radiation, hunting for Jupiter's secrets

Los Angeles Times

Heidi Becker crept through the darkened, empty hallways of a Parisian hospital, rolling a cart full of lead bricks. In a radiology treatment room, she positioned the bricks around a device that she placed in the crosshairs of an electron-shooting linear accelerator. This unusual patient was an early version of the star tracker aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft. Becker and other engineers had entered around midnight, long after the Curie Institute's normal business hours, to get a taste of what the satellite will face when it arrives at Jupiter on July 4. "It's kind of like cat burglars in the middle of the night, stealing electrons," said Becker, the lead engineer for the mission's radiation monitoring experiment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It's not your typical test for spacecraft parts, but this is no typical destination.


China goes alien hunting with the world's largest telescope

ZDNet

China has its eye on tracking alien activity now the construction of the "world's largest telescope" has finally finished. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST's tale began in 1994, when planning the device for the purpose of searching for extraterrestrial life began. After jumping over regulatory and permission hurdles, the massive telescope took five years to complete and cost a total of 180 million. FAST compromises of a massive reflecting dish containing 4,450 panels which span roughly the size of 30 football fields, according to local media Xinhua News. The telescope, located in Pingtang County in the southwestern province of Guizhou, will be used to search for "strange" objects which will help us understand more about our universe.


Cecil the Lion Died One Year Ago--Here's What's Happened Since

National Geographic News

A recent report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare broke down some of the statistics: People will pay from 24,000 to 71,000 to hunt lions in Africa (more than any other trophy species); about 8,200 African lion trophies were imported between 2004 and 2014, the sixth highest of any internationally protected species (the American black bear is number one); and trade rates for lion parts have risen faster than those for any other of these protected species.