The universe awaits

Joint Statement From the US-ELT Program

August 11, 2020

Joint Statement regarding the submission of the “Planning and Design for a US Extremely Large Telescope Program” proposals to the National Science Foundation

At the end of May 2020, the partners of the US Extremely Large Telescope Program (US-ELTP) jointly submitted three Planning and Design proposals to the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The US-ELTP partners include: NSF’s NOIRLab, managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA), the Giant Magellan Telescope Corporation (GMTO), and the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO).

The recommendation of the National Academies’ Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Astro2020), which is currently expected in the first half of 2021, and the readiness of the Giant Magellan Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope to enter NSF’s major facilities review process would be important next steps.   Nonetheless, the partners view the submission of these proposals as an important milestone in the evaluation of all aspects of the program.

The underlying US-ELTP concept presented to NSF as part of this proposal remains consistent with the vision the partners presented to the National Academies’ Astro2020’s Panel on Optical and Infrared Observations from the Ground in February 2020.   The plan for the US-ELTP continues to be a two-hemisphere system of complementary ELT-class telescopes that would provide the US science community with access to 100% of the night sky to make the next generation of discoveries about our Universe.  Chile is the proposed site for the Giant Magellan Telescope in the south, and for the north, Maunakea, Hawai’i, USA is the proposed primary site for the Thirty Meter Telescope, with La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain as the back-up site.

Media Contact

Ryan Kallabis

Director of Communications

Multimedia Resources

Multimedia from the release and media usage statement are available from the GMTO Corporation here and from the University of Arizona here until March 20, 2021. Assets may not appear uncredited. Unless otherwise noted in media usage statement, credit line must be given as follows: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporatio