The past several months have been an extraordinary period as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. Everyone at ALMA hopes that you and your families are safe and healthy, and we extend our thoughts to those who have been directly affected by the pandemic.
For six months, almost the whole ALMA site has been shut down – power, water treatment, and running water - with only a single piece of key equipment (the hydrogen maser) still powered and checked daily as one of the tasks of the ALMA Caretaker Teams - the teams who have ensured the safety and security of the ALMA Observatory through the shutdown.
With the improving pandemic situation in Chile, ALMA is now scheduled to begin the long process of recovering the telescope array in the Atacama on October 1st, 2020, starting with preparation of the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) at 2900 metres for the return of staff and contractors.
The road to recovery of operations, and ultimately science observations – a milestone that will not take place this year - has been carefully planned. It is difficult to predict the exact timeline since several aspects of the plan depend on prevailing conditions not under our control. However, the following describes the current plan of activities and schedule for the return of ALMA to science operations.