And the building process was by no means cheap. The original budget for the telescope was around $100 million. By the time it was completed, however, the cost of the construction alone was closer to $180 million. Oh, and that’s before you even factor in the $270 million that was spent on creating the space that FAST needed to function effectively.
Still, after its troubled creation, FAST made what’s known as “first light” on September 25, 2016. First light isn’t the first image that the telescope takes, though; rather, it’s the first time that the instrument is used to take astronomical readings. And while these readings aren’t usually of any particular scientific value, because the telescope still needs refining, first light here was still an exciting milestone for those involved in the construction of the giant device.