Tech-In-Vision | World’s Largest Telescope Will Be In Operation By 2024
“The next generation space telescope, which will be located much further away from the earth than the hubble space telescope presently is, will also explore the infrared part of the spectrum” — Claude Nicollier, the first astronaut from Switzerland and has flown on four Space Shuttle missions, predicted about the future of telescopes.
And yet, the European Southern Observatory’s Council finally announced that it has approved the construction plan to build the next world’s largest telescope in Chile, which will supposedly be finished by 2024.
The telescope will be built on top of a mountain named Cerro Armazones, in the country’s Atacama Desert. “This is the most powerful of all the extremely large telescope projects that have been planned currently. Major industrial construction work for the E-ELT is now funded and can proceed according to plan,” said Tim de Zeeuw, Director General of the ESO.
Early designs included a segmented primary mirror with a diameter of 42 metres (about 137.8 feet) and an area of about 1,300 m2 (about 0.32 acres); with a secondary mirror with a diameter of 5.9 m (about 19.4 feet). However, in 2011, a proposal was put forward to reduce its size by 13% to 978 m2 (about 0.242 acres), for a 39.3-m diameter primary mirror and a 4.2-m diameter secondary mirror due to the reduction of budget costs from about €1.3 billion to about €1.1 billion.
Once built, this 39-meter aperture optical and infrared telescope will be able to help scientists to characterize Earth-size exoplanets and study star populations in nearby galaxies. “The next few years will be very exciting.”
“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road, but that’s just peanuts to space” — Douglas Adams
To me, space is an aspiration concept that allows us to dream big.