Engineers are preparing to blast away the top of a Chilean mountain to make way for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), according to a report from The Guardian.
The first of its kind, the E-ELT will sit atop the crumbling Cerro Armazones that dominate the peaks of the Chilean Coast Range north of Santiago. From there, it will allow researchers to view planets outside our solar system.
But first, the 10,000-foot mountain must be decapitated.
"We are going to blast it with dynamite and then carry off the rubble," said engineer Gird Hudepohl. "We will take about 80 feet (24 meters) off the top of the mountain to create a plateau - and when we have done that, we will build the world's biggest telescope there."
Simple as that. But if anyone is up to the job, it's Hudepohl. This is not the engineer's first mountain beheading. He removed the peak of a nearby mountain, Cerro Paranal, on which his team then erected one of the planet's most sophisticated observatories, which has been operating for more than a decade.
Once complete, the E-ELT will boast mirrors 39 meters long, enabling scientists to peer into space farther than any other astronomical device.
Its primary mirror will be made of almost 800 segments - 1.4 meters in diameter but only a few centimeters thick - that will have to be aligned with microscopic precision.
Its four giant instruments, or Very Large Telescopes, have been named Antu (Sun), Kueyen (Moon), Melipal (Southern Cross) and Yepun (Venus) in the language of the Mapuche people of Chile.
The mountaintop is prime real-estate for the telescope because of its arid temperatures and lack of water droplets so high up in the atmosphere, which can taint planetary pictures.
"If you build your telescope where the atmosphere above you is completely dry, you will get the best possible views of the stars - and there is nowhere on Earth that has air drier than this place," said Cambridge University astronomer Professor Gerry Gilmore.
When completed in around 2025, the 2,700-ton telescope - worth over $1 trillion - will be housed in a 74-meter high dome and operated by astronomers working 20 kilometers away in Paranal.
© 2021 NatureWorldNews.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.