Monday, September 05, 2005

TransAtlantic Race to Watch the Space


An excerpt:

"A transatlantic race to see who can create in the next ten years the most powerful eye to scrutinise the universe in the hope of making spectacular discoveries. European scientists are planning a telescope as much as one hundred metres in diameter"

Another excerpt:

"Hopes of photographing a planet similar to our own in orbit around some far-off star are hidden under the terraces of the stadium in Tucson, Arizona.This is the home of the Mirror Lab, and the stamping ground of lanky, greying Roger Angel, the wizard who dreamed up a new way to manufacture telescopes. It is here that a very special mirror, 8.4 metres in diameter, is under construction. With seven similar mirrors, it will be part of the world’s largest observatory. The final seven-mirror telescope, known as Giant Magellan, will be able to explore the furthest reaches of the cosmos with the precision of a single, much bigger mirror 23 metres across. Current technology cannot produce mirrors that broad, but the problem has been sidestepped by combining several smaller ones. The project will cost half a billion dollars, and the seven American promoters, including Boston’s MIT and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, have yet to find the necessary funds."

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