Construction on the world’s largest optical telescope starts off with a bang, as workers demolish a hilltop in Chile’s Atacama desert.
The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) telescope, being built by the European Southern Observatory, aims to give astronomers new insight into the origins of the universe and help search for potentially habitable planets elsewhere in the galaxy.
“(Currently) we have no proof of the existence of an Earth-like planet at the same distance from the sun in our galactic neighbourhood,” said astronomer Fernando Comeron, ESO’s representative in Chile. “That’s not because they don’t exist but because we don’t yet have the tools to detect them. ”With the E-ELT, we can.”
Construction will take an estimated 10 years, and the telescope will be put into service two years later.