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August 6 – 12, 2012 / Vol 31, No 32 / Hawai`i Island, USA

3 Aug 2012, 20:27 UTC
August 6 – 12, 2012 / Vol 31, No 32 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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South America and the Space Age: Chile Leading Astrophysics, Brazil Reigniting Astronautics
Chile continues to maintain a position at the leading edge of Astronomy, hosting 42% of current global astronomy infrastructure, a figure projected to rise to 70% by 2018. The high and dry 181,300-square kilometer Atacama Desert region is home to some of the latest developments including the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array currently being constructed at 5000 meters above sea level in the Chajnantor plateau. ALMA, due for completion in March 2013, will consist of 66 12-meter and 7-meter radio telescopes coordinating observations with one millionth of a millionth of a second precision while operating at wavelengths of 0.3 to 9.6 mm to study star birth during the early universe and conduct detailed imaging of local star and planet formation. Brazil is working to reignite its astronautics programs / indigenous launch capabilities based around the Alcantara Launch Center, which benefits from an equatorial locale at just 2.3 degrees south longitude, ideal for launching to geostationary orbit. Recent resumption of a Brazil – Ukraine joint venture is building towards the launch of a Ukrainian Cyclone-4 rocket from Alcantara in 2013. (Image Credit: ALMA, Top Right: Antennae Galaxy – ALMA-Hubble Composite, ...

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