The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a revolutionary instrument in its scientific concept, its engineering design, and its organization as a global scientific endeavor...
Currently under construction in the thin, dry air of northern Chile's Atacama desert at an altitude of 5,000 meters above sea level, ALMA will initially be composed of 66 high-precision antennas working together at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, with a possible extension in the future.
Thanks to its high resolution and sensitivity, ALMA will open an entirely new "window" on the Universe, allowing scientists to unravel longstanding and important astronomical mysteries, in search of our Cosmic Origins.
Some people say that the sun never sets on ALMA. Indeed, ALMA is a wonderful example of a worldwide collaboration , involving partners from four continents. By working together, scientists and engineers from around the world tackle unprecedented challenges and will seek to expand the frontiers of knowledge.
ALMA is expected to begin science operations with a limited number of antennas and to start full science operations with 66 antennas. Scientists from around the world will thus soon employ this remarkable facility to probe the very first stars and galaxies, and directly image exo-planets, possibly discovering the first traces of life.