Astronomy: Spain wants super telescope

After Chile announced last week its intention to provide a site for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), Público reports that the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation has rushed to submit a competing bid “to obtain world’s biggest telescope.” One of the innovations of the device designed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) “will be its ability to see light reflected by planets outside the solar system — a feature which could help find life or water on them.” The project also represents a major investment, which “will bring hundreds of jobs and millions of euros to the area around the chosen site.” The two competing locations for the telescope are Armazores in Chile and Roque de los Muchachos in Palma (Canary Islands). However, according to sources in the ESO, the Spanish location may present some technical problems. Spain is expected to finalize its bid before the end of February in the run-up to the 2nd and 3rd of March meeting of “the 14-member ESO, which includes Spain, to select the final location of the telescope.”

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