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The question of whether there is any form of life on other planets in our Universe has been plaguing humans for centuries - Now, the search is about to get even more intense, thanks to an ultra-large, uber-sophisticated telescope, innovatively dubbed - European Extremely Large Telescope or E-ELT!
Commissioned by the European Southern Observatory, a consortium of 15 European countries and Brazil, the telescope, which is expected to cost over $1.5 billion, is scheduled to be ready by 2020. While construction will not begin for at least a couple of years, scientists all over the world are currently vying for a chance to develop the sophisticated instruments that will be housed inside the dome-shaped structure, which amongst other things will feature a 40-meter (131 ft.) mirror put together from over 1,000 individual hexagonal segments.
The 'World's Biggest Eye On The Sky' will be built atop the 3,060 meters (10,000 ft.) high Cerro Amazones mountains that lie in the middle of Chile's Atacama Desert. The area, which also houses other powerful telescopes like the Paranal Observatory and the Atacama Large Military Array, is believed to be the ideal location for astronomical research because of its dry and arid climate.
When ready, the E-ELT will be ten times more sensitive to normal and infrared light than the Very Large Telescope that is currently in the Paranal Observatory — powerful enough to not only spot aliens but also, glean inside some of the oldest galaxies and help unlock secrets about how the Universe evolved to its current state.
Whether the 'World's Biggest Eye On The Sky' will be able to locate extraterrestrials is debatable — But, with the capability of taking pictures that are 15 times sharper than the Hubble Telescope, we are sure going to be the recipients of some amazing images of our Universe - So stay tuned!
Resources: Guardian.co.uk, esciencenews.com