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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Review of the Science Requirements for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array



The Atacama Large Millimeter Array: Implications of a Potential Descope

Released July 2005

The 1991 NRC decadal survey for astronomy and astrophysics included a project called the Millimeter Array (MMA). This instrument would be an array of millimeter-wavelength telescopes intended to capture images of star-forming regions and distant star-burst galaxies. With the addition of contributions form Europe, the MMA evolved into the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), a proposed array of 64, 12-meter antennas. The project is now part of the NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities budget request. Increased costs, however, have forced the NSF to reconsider the number of antennas. To help with that review, NSF asked the NRC to assess the scientific consequences of reducing the number of active antennas from 60 to either 50 or 40. This report presents an assessment of the effect of downsizing on technical performance specifications, performance degradation, and the ability to perform transformational science, and of the minimum number of antennas needed.

Committee Members and NRC Staff

Roger D. Blandford, Chair, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics & Cosmology
Donald Backer, University of California at Berkeley
John E. Carlstrom, University of Chicago
Sarah Church, Stanford University
Lennox L. Cowie, University of Hawaii
Aaron S. Evans, Stony Brook University
David J. Hollenbach, NASA Ames Research Center
Anthony C. Readhead, California Institute of Technology
Mark J. Reid, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
David N. Spergel, Princeton Universiry

NRC Staff

Donald C. Shapero, Director
Brian C. Dewhurst, Sr. Program Associate
Celeste A. Naylor, Sr. Program Assistant
David B. Lang, Research Assistant

Related Links

 BPA Related Activities Outside Links
NRC Committee on Astronomy and AstrophysicsNRAO ALMA Home
2001 Decadal Survey of Astronomy & Astrophysics ReportNational Radio Astronomy Observatory
1991 Decadal Survey of Astronomy & Astrophysics ReportAssociated Universities, Inc.


The project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.