World's Most Powerful Space Telescope To Be Operable In 2025
The telescope will be built on Cerro Paranal and will be the most precise telescope in existence. When built, the telescope is expected to be 13 times more powerful than any space telescope in existence. The European Southern Observatory is leading the effort.
Typically, American astronomers have had the privilege of owning the world’s most powerful telescopes in their own backyard. However, the construction of this new telescope, which is expected to be fully operable in 2025, will put American astronomers at a professional disadvantage.
American astronomers are trying to reassert dominance in their observations of the cosmos by pushing forward projects for two other telescopes. Funding is needed for a thirty-meter telescope that would be built in Hawaii and the Giant Magellan telescope, which would be built in Cerro Las Campanas, Chile.
Complete funding for either project has not been secured and often relies on the political climate of the day. For example, President Trump has implied that he wants to further cut funding for the National Science Foundation. Doing so would further stall both projects.
The Giant Magellan Telescope would cost around $1.2 billion, with only half of that funding currently being secured.