eso0306 — Organisation Release
ESO and NSF Sign Agreement on ALMA
25 February 2003: On February 25, 2003, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) are signing a historic agreement to construct and operate the world's largest and most powerful radio telescope, operating at millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelength . The Director General of ESO, Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, and the Director of the NSF, Dr. Rita Colwell, act for their respective organizations. Known as the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), the future facility will encompass sixty-four interconnected 12-meter antennae at a unique, high-altitude site at Chajnantor in the Atacama region of northern Chile. ALMA is a joint project between Europe and North America. In Europe, ESO is leading on behalf of its ten member countries and Spain. In North America, the NSF also acts for the National Research Council of Canada and executes the project through the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) operated by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI). The conclusion of the ESO-NSF Agreement now gives the final green light for the ALMA project. The total cost of approximately 650 million Euro (or US Dollars) is shared equally between the two partners.