China still having trouble staffing up its mega-telescope

The 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, in southwest China's Guizhou Province, is the world's largest radio telescope, measuring 500 meters in diameter.

Enlarge / The 500-meter
Aperture Spherical Telescope, in southwest China’s Guizhou
Province, is the world’s largest radio telescope, measuring 500
meters in diameter. (credit: Xinhua/Liu Xu via Getty Images)

China has built a staggeringly large radio telescope in a remote
part of the country, and although it is the largest and most
advanced instrument of its kind in the world, the country continues
to have a difficult time staffing up the observatory.

Not only has the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or

FAST instrument
, still failed to attract a chief
scientist, according
to
the South China Morning Post the facility is also struggling
to attract two dozen researchers to work on site to maintain the
instrument and analyze data collected there.

One problem is pay. According to the Post, astronomers
interested in joining working there should speak fluent English,
and expect to work in the remote location on a long-term basis.
(The telescope is located southwest China’s mountainous Guizhou
province.) Compensation for the job is meager, at least by Western
standards—about 100,000 yuan, or $14,400 annually.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
China still having trouble staffing up its mega-telescope