MrSeb writes: "The largest astronomical installation in the world is now operational. ALMA, or the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, is a vast radio telescope made out of 66 12- and 7-meter dish antennae situated 5,000m above sea level, in Chile. Its purpose is to seek out new life and new civilizations and to boldly go where no telescope has gone before. But no, seriously: its job is to peer into the past and investigate ancient stars and nebulae, peer at exoplanets that might support human (or alien) life, and hopefully learn more about interstellar creation and destruction. For now only 20 out of 66 antennae are in place, but when it is complete — late next year — it will have a resolving power far greater than Hubble, according to the European Space Observatory (ESO) that operates ALMA."
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