ESO has built up considerable expertise in developing, integrating and operating large astronomical telescopes at remote sites. Furthermore, for several years ESO has been engaged in conceptual studies for an extremely large optical and infrared adaptive telescope.
This expertise forms the backbone of efforts to develop a 40-metre-class Extremely Large Telescope for Europe's astronomers, known as E-ELT. The start of E-ELT construction is planned for 2012, with start of operations planned for early in the next decade. The E-ELT is a high technology project that incorporates many innovative developments. It offers numerous possibilities for technology and engineering spin-offs, technology transfer and technology contracting. Crucial enabling technologies were developed by a large consortium of European institutes and high-tech industrial firms within the ELT Design Study, with ESO and the European Commission as the main funders.
A detailed description of the future E-ELT is available for the general public here. The E-ELT Project page gives more information about the science that can be done with the E-ELT as well as the technical challenges.
The following information about the E-ELT and related projects ia available: