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China's gigantic telescope adopts intelligent maintenance robots

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-07-27 16:16

Staff members adjust a maintenance robot designed for China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope in Southwest China's Guizhou province, on July 26, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

GUIYANG -- Five intelligent robot systems and platforms for the maintenance of China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, have passed inspection and can be put into use, local authorities said on Wednesday.

The intelligent robots will be mainly used in testing of the supporting cables and pulleys of FAST's feed, the automatic maintenance of its actuators and laser targets on the reflector, the disassembling and installation of feed receivers, the monitoring of radio interference, and the all-weather measurement of its 30-tonne feed cabin.

According to Jiang Peng, FAST's chief engineer, the intelligent robots will help safeguard the telescope's operation, increasing its observation duration and efficiency while promoting more scientific results.

"The intelligent robots are expected to add about 30 days to the telescope's observation period annually," said Jiang.

Dubbed the "China Sky Eye," the telescope is located in a naturally deep and round karst depression in the southwestern province of Guizhou. It has a reception area equal to 30 standard football fields.

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