After a successful venture into the elite space club with its Mars Mission, India is now set to be part of another exclusive club of four other countries including the United States, in building a $1.47 billion worth telescope on Hawaii island, which will be the biggest in the world.
India will join the US, Japan, China and Canada to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Consortium Project at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the groundbreaking ceremony for which was held on 7 October, according to IANS. AN Indian delegation was part of the ceremony.
India is set to invest $212 million in the billion-dollar project in a period between 2014 and 2023. This international scientific project is the first that India has taken up with the US among several agreed on during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to America last month.
India will hold 10% of the project and will make 70% of its total contribution in kind, according to IANS. The project will be jointly taken up by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), while other institutions such as the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) Nainital & Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune are also expected to participate.
Indian scientists will get up to 30 days in a year for observing through the telescope, and India will also produce several of the products to be used in the project.
The telescope is aimed to help scientists understand stages of the universe's evolution by studying object far away in space.