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Japan offers additional TMT funding

Japan has reiterated its commitment to help fund the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island.

The Japanese parliament, known as the Diet, passed a fiscal year 2013 budget in May that contains about $12.2 million for TMT planning and construction.

“We welcome the support of the Japanese government as demonstrated in the 2013 annual budget,” said Masahiko Hayashi, the director general of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), a collaborator on the TMT project. “With these funds, the TMT project will make important strides this fiscal year toward one day becoming the most advanced and powerful optical telescope on Earth.”

This latest round of funding follows a fiscal year 2012 supplementary budget passed back in February for TMT. Those funds were designated for producing mirror blanks as well as development and verification of the technology and the detailed design of the telescope system.

TMT is a segmented mirror telescope consisting of 492 mirrors that combine to form the 30-meter primary mirror. Multiple countries will contribute to the construction of the 492 segmented mirrors.

The telescope, which would be built atop Mauna Kea, is expected to cost at least $1 billion.

For its share of the contribution, Japan is expected to manufacture the main telescope structure and the mirror blanks for the segmented primary mirror, as well as provide a portion of the polishing of the segmented mirrors and instrumentation.

In total, Japan is expected to contribute a combined total equivalent of one-fourth of the total cost of TMT construction.


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