It is hoped the dish, which is as big as 30 football fields, could lead to “discoveries beyond our wildest imagination”.

 

The world’s largest radio telescope has begun searching for signs of extra-terrestrial life in outer space.

The £138m dish, which began operating on Sunday, measures 500 metres in diameter and took five years to construct in China’s Guizhou region.

As well as searching for signs of intelligent life outside the galaxy, the dish will observe distant pulsars – tiny, rapidly spinning neutron stars believed to be the products of supernova explosions.