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China Is Kicking 9,000 People Out of Their Homes to Make Room for a Massive Alien Telescope

Chinese officials are serious about this whole E.T. thing, and they are giving people cash to get out of the way.

Peering into the universe. China builds largest radio telescope, size of 37 football fields: — Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield)July 26, 2015

China really, really, really wants to be the first country on Earth to catch a convincing glimpse of extraterrestrial life, so much so that officials have decided to relocate over 9,000 residents of the southwest province of Guizhou to make way for a massive alien-hunting telescope, as the BBC reports.

The telescope, called the "Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope," or FAST, is, as the name suggests, going to be fucking enormous—the largest of its kind in the world. It has reportedly already cost the country about 1.2 billion yuan (some €165 million) since construction began in 2011, and it is set to be fully operational sometime this year.

The telescope has been described as a "sensitive ear" that will listen for signs of intelligent life out among the stars, like songs or countdown clocks or whatever.

Unfortunately, the giant ear needs "a sound electromagnetic wave environment," according to an official at the Guizhou Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). That means people living in the surrounding area have got to go.

Residents within a roughly three-mile radius of the telescope site will reportedly receive 12,000 yuan (roughly €1,655) to move, along with the possibility of further assistance getting situated in new housing. That doesn't seem like a lot, but hopefully the great technological advances bestowed upon us by alien life will make the whole thing worthwhile.