An aerial photo of 'eye on the sky', the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, which was taken by a drone in July. (OU DONGQU/XINHUA)
The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, the world's largest single dish telescope, has discovered over 740 pulsars, said Jiang Peng, chief engineer of the telescope and a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress.
Pulsars are dense and bright remnants of massive stars that have gone supernova, hence they are dubbed the "lighthouse of the universe" and are a hot topic in astronomy research.
Jiang said FAST is a one-of-a-kind telescope that required breakthroughs in numerous fields, from materials science to system calibrations. Over the last three years, the telescope has operated smoothly and efficiently despite the COVID-19 pandemic while producing many world-class scientific discoveries, he said.
"I am extremely fortunate to have dedicated myself to this legendary project," he said. "If we turn our gaze toward the future, we must remain sufficiently clear-headed and diligently solve key problems while constantly improving the performance of our telescope," he said.
"Only in this way can we possibly maintain the hard-won leading advantage of FAST amid fierce international competition."