Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 597–607 | Cite as

The Large Millimeter Telescope/El Gran Telescopio Milimétrico: A New Instrument for Astrobiology

  • William M. IrvineEmail author
  • Alberto Carramiñana
  • Luis Carrasco
  • F. Peter Schloerb


The Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica in Mexico and the University of Massachusetts in the U.S.A. are collaborating to build the world's largest radio telescope that operates at short millimeter wavelengths. This facility, known as the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) or el Gran Telescopio Milimétrico (GTM), is being sited at an altitudeof 4600 m on Volcan Sierra Negra in the Mexican state of Puebla. The telescope will be a fully steerable dish with a diameter of 50 m and a surface consisting of 180 panels that are actively adjusted under computer control to correct for deformations due to gravity and temperature gradients. Instruments will include focal plane arrays to image both continuum and spectral line emission from celestial sources. The LMT/GTM will be an extremelypowerful facility for studies encompassing almost all areas of astronomy, including astrobiology. In particular, the high sensitivity, angular resolution, and mapping speed will enable detailed investigations of the organic chemistry of interstellarmolecular clouds, protoplanetary disks, and comets.

astrobiology comets interstellar chemistry molecular clouds radio astronomy radio telescope 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • William M. Irvine
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alberto Carramiñana
    • 2
  • Luis Carrasco
    • 2
  • F. Peter Schloerb
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Astronomy and Five College Radio Astronomy ObservatoryUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstU.S.A.
  2. 2.Óptica y ElectrónicaInstituto Nacional de AstrofísicaPuebla, PueblaMexico

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