The 30-metre telescope, called the TMT (Thirty Meter Telescope) is proposed to be built on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, US. India along with China, Japan and U.S. have all committed funds towards this $1.2 billion project of world’s largest telescope. However the share of India’s funding is not available but its said that it is close to USD $250 million.
The TMT project is led by the California Institute of Technology and the Associated Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy.
TMT Observatory Corporation is also partnered with Department of Science and Technology of India. In year 2010, a consortium of Indian Astronomy Research Institutes joined TMT project as an observer. The observer status is the first step in becoming a full partner in TMT and participating in the engineering development and scientific use of the observatory (Subject to approval of funding from Indian Government).
In 2012, India and China became partners, with representatives on the TMT board. China and India will pay a share of the telescope construction costs, expected to top $1 billion. Japan, which has its own large telescope at Mauna Kea, the 8.3-metre Subaru, is also a partner.
The question here rises for India as being only developing nation which other ground things to offer for its population other than throwing so much of money in science project of telescope which will not be deployed in India infact. India is only developing nation among all funding countries why India came as desperate funding source as rest of the countries – US, Japan and China are already developed and they can fund such luxurious projects.
But if anything to go by news sources India hopes that this TMT partnership will allow the country to acquire critical technology that would help it build a 10-meter telescope in India itself.
TMT may not hold the title of world’s largest for long, however, as a partnership of European countries plans to build the European Extremely Large Telescope, which would have a 42-meter, or 138-foot, mirror.