As the largest astronomical project in the world, ALMA, or Atacama Large Millimeter and Sub-millimeter Array in its full name, works smoothly with its single telescope of revolutionary design, on the Chajnantor Plateau 5,000-meter high in northern Chile, waiting for visitors to explore its might and mystery.
(Soundbite) Thais Mandiola, Tour Guide of ALMA
“We have been surprised that the people arriving here are generally Chileans rather than foreigners. In fact, this has actually been a very positive aspect that interests the nation for economic reasons. In addition, this type of science and what is happening in revolutionary terms with the observatory means a lot to Chile.”
ALMA is composed of 66 high-precision antennas with the maximum capacity of 500 staff members.
The antennas can be moved in the surrounding desert over distances ranging from 150 meters to 16 kilometers, providing a powerful variable zoom operation.
ALMA’s observations began in the second half of 2011 and the first images were published in the press in October the same year.
The observations mainly aim to discover how the first galaxies were built in the early universe.
For ALMA, Chile has forged an international partnership with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the National Science Foundation USA (NSF), the National Institute of Natural Sciences of Japan (NINS), as well as other minor collaborators from Canada, China’s Taiwan and South Korea.