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Meet an ALMA Antenna

31 December, 2009 / Read time: 1 minute

VertexRSI built the 25, 12-meter North American ALMA telescopes. Notice how the structure of the telescopes is completely encased, similar to an astronaut in a spacesuit. 

Unlike your common TV dish telescope, these complex telescopes must function on the harsh Atacama Desert plains for decades, being ravaged by frequent dust storms, freak snow showers, gusting winds, and a wide temperature range from -22°F up to 104°F (-30°C to 40°C .) 

Vertex used high-tech materials such as Invar and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic to build its telescopes. Thanks to this clever engineering, ALMA is one of the toughest telescopes on the planet.

Credits: National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)