14 Oct 2014

Billion-dollar telescope to be built on Hawaii

3:37 pm on 14 October 2014

Construction has begun on what will become the world's most advanced and powerful optical telescope, located near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

The 30-metre telescope is a multi-national project which will cost $1.3 billion US dollars and take up to a decade to complete.

Astronomer and member of the Thirty Metre Telescope International Observatory Board , Michael Bolte, says the telescope will allow scientists to look into the deepest parts of the universe and observe 'first light', thought to be the Big Bang.

He says scientists using the telescope will literally be looking back in time and that there is no telling what else they might see.

"20 years ago nobody talked that seriously about finding life in our galaxy. But now I think there is quite a bit of excitement about the potential. Now we know there are lots of planets out there whose conditions could support life as its supported here on earth. I think one of the most exciting discoveries in all of science would be if we found evidence for life, elsewhere in the universe."

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Photo: TMT International Observatory