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The GMT Project Welcomes the NRC Decadal Survey Recommendations

For Immediate Release – August 16, 2010

Pasadena, CA – The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) Corporation applauds the National Research Council’s (NRC) strong endorsement of the scientific case for the next generation of “Giant Segmented Mirror Telescopes (GSMT).”

The NRC of The National Academy of Sciences just released its Astro2010 report called “New Worlds, New Horizons.” The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Project welcomes the opportunity to show how the GMT’s abilities match the scientific questions highlighted in the NRC decadal survey. The GMT will be located in Chile, close to the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) international radio observatory and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), making it ideally placed for joint scientific investigations with these flagship facilities. Dr. Patrick McCarthy, the GMT Project Director, said “We are delighted to have the opportunity to demonstrate that GMT meets the scientific goals for national participation in a GSMT and are eager to start discussions with the National Science Foundation (NSF).” Harvard University Professor Robert Kirshner, a member of one of the NRC advisory panels, said “the scientific case for a GSMT is clear and compelling.”

The GMT partners, a consortium of United States and international universities and research laboratories, are committed to developing a 25-meter telescope to address the key science objectives identified in the NRC report. The partners have provided funding that is supporting the completion of the design work and enabling early construction work, including the fabrication of the primary mirror segments. Dr. Wendy Freedman, Chair of the GMTO Board of Directors, said “We welcome the recommendations of the decadal survey and look forward to helping to implement them.”

The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) is a not-for-profit organization founded to design, build and operate the Giant Magellan Telescope on behalf of an international partnership that includes Astronomy Australia Ltd., Australian National University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Harvard University, the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, the Smithsonian Institution, Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Arizona and the University of Chicago. The GMTO is headquartered in Pasadena, California, USA, and the Giant Magellan Telescope will be located at Las Campanas, Chile. For more information, visit www.gmto.org.