“Houston businessman George Mitchell has agreed to donate $25 million to the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, an instrument that would be the largest ever built.
The gift ensures that astronomers from Texas A&M University, Mitchell’s alma mater, will receive ample time to use the telescope.
Developers plan to build the instrument with an 80-foot mirror in Las Campanas, Chile, where conditions are ideal.
A&M has begun attracting a core of quality astronomers thanks to Mitchell’s largesse. He has now provided $33.5 million toward construction of the $700 million telescope, as well as giving tens of millions more to A&M’s physics and astronomy departments.
“The Giant Magellan Telescope is one of the reasons these researchers came to Texas A&M in the first place,” Mitchell said in a news release. “More money means more observation time, and it’s important our researchers get that time with the Giant Magellan Telescope.”
Backers hope to complete its construction by 2018. They have raised $255.5 million so far.”
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