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Mon Aug 20, 2018, 12:07 AM

'Hard-Rock Excavation' Begins for Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile

By Doris Elin Salazar, Space.com Contributor | August 19, 2018 07:43am ET

The construction of a gigantic new telescope has kicked into high gear in the Chilean Andes.

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) has now entered the "hard-rock excavation" phase, which will make way for the huge structure's foundations, leaders of the $1 billion project announced on Tuesday (Aug. 14).

Construction services company Minerķa y Montajes Conpax (known as Conpax) is performing the work at the telescope project site, which is part of Las Campanas Observatory in northern Chile, Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) Corp. representatives said. [Space.com in Chile: Giant Magellan Telescope Groundbreaking Travelogue]

Hydraulic drilling and hammering of the site is expected to take five months. The foundations that will be poured in after that will support the weight of the telescope, which is estimated to be about 1,600 metric tons (1,700 tons), according to a GMTO statement. The telescope is expected to begin operations in 2024.


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