On September 28, members of the U.S. federal agency National Science Foundation (NSF) visited Las Campanas Observatory of the Carnegie Institution for Science and the site where the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMTO) is being built. The visit was led by David Osip, Deputy Director of LCO; Oscar Contreras, GMTO’s legal representative in Chile and Vice President for Chile; and Miguel Roth, GMTO Representative Emeritus.
From NSF, the committee consisted of Patrick McCarthy, NSF NOIRLab Director, former GMTO Vice President and Carnegie Institution for Science astronomer; Linnea Avallone, NSF Research Facilities Officer; James Neff, Deputy Director; Program Directors Ed Ajhar, Luca Rizzi and Nigel Sharp; and Kathy Turner, Cosmic Frontier Program Director.
“This important NSF delegation was welcomed to LCO with open arms. I believe it is fundamental that the members of this distinguished group know first hand one of the most relevant professional observatories in the world, such as LCO”, emphasizes Leopoldo Infante, Director of Las Campanas Observatory.
The visit was part of the process of evaluation and review of the GMT construction project by the NSF for funding.
“We are very proud of the progress of the work and of being able to show the NSF delegates the impact that the Giant Magellan Telescope will have, the most powerful ever built and which will allow Chile to position itself as a leader in astronomical research from the best site in the world, such as the Las Campanas Observatory”, said Oscar Contreras.
The Giant Magellan Telescope is a project of the GMTO corporation, a consortium of leading international universities and research institutions, including the Carnegie Institution for Science. Last August the corporation reaffirmed its commitment to invest US $205 million to accelerate construction of the telescope.