New Starts Proposed in NSF’s FY 2004 Budget for FY 2004, 2005, or 2006 Support:

  • National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Phase I—FY 2004

  • Rare Symmetry Violating Processes (RSVP)—FY 2006

  • Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI)—FY 2006

  • Integrated ocean drilling program (IODP)—FY 2005



The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) will be a 64-element array of 12-m-diameter radio antennas in the Chilean Andes. The array is designed to study the millimeter- and submillimeter-wavelength portions of the spectrum with “unprecedented imaging capabilities and sensitivity many orders of magnitude greater than anything of its kind today.” [1] The principal contributors to the development and construction of ALMA are the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), but many other international partners are involved.

See Table C-1 for a timeline of the major developments.

Approval and Funding History

MREFC funding for planning, design, and development began in FY 1998; this stage of the project is referred to as ALMA I. MREFC funding for construction began in FY 2002; the construction phase is referred to as ALMA II.

Managing Institutions

ALMA is an international collaboration. The US side of the project is led by Associated Universities, Inc., and the NRAO. Europe is an equal partner in ALMA with funding and execution carried out through the ESO.

Development Summary
Millimeter Array

In the spring of 1982, it was recognized that a proposal for a 25-m dish for millimeter astronomy initiated by the NRAO in 1975 [2] might never be funded [3, 4]. Robert Wilson called for a meeting at Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) in October 1982, intentionally excluding NRAO scien-

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