estimated construction cost for FASR is $100 million, and operations will cost $4 million per year, both of which the panel assumes will be evenly split between the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Division of Atmospheric and Geophysical Sciences (AGS) in NSF’s Directorate for Geosciences.
CCAT (formerly the Cornell-Caltech Atacama Telescope) will provide the capability for rapid surveys of the submillimeter sky, essential for the optimal exploitation of ALMA. CCAT is a 25-m-diameter telescope located on a very high, dry site and equipped with megapixel detector arrays; it will address many of the questions posed by the Science Frontiers Panels. CCAT is estimated to cost $110 million, with $33 million coming from NSF. NSF’s share of operating expenses would be about $7.5 million per year, a net increase of $5 million per year, assuming that current funding for the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) is recycled.
FASR and CCAT have equal, and very high, priority in this category, but different phasing.
Studies of the CMB have delivered much of the most valuable information about the universe at large. The panel strongly recommends a continued robust program at the current funding levels of ground-based CMB studies, with multiple approaches that are driven by individual investigators.
An expansion of the Allen Telescope Array to 256 antennas (ATA-256) would significantly improve astronomers’ ability to find and study transient sources and to detect gravitational waves by timing an array of pulsars. The ATA can test ideas needed for the development of next-generation telescopes such as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). The estimated cost of construction for the expansion is about $44 million. The panel recommends that NSF explore collaboration with other agencies and private foundations for the enhancement of ATA-42.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) telescopes (and soon, ALMA) provide a broad range of scientific capabilities needed to answer many of the SFP questions, but all will need instrument development, especially the completion of frequency coverage, multibeam capability, and electronics improvements to enable much higher data rates. The panel recommends a sustained and substantial program to enhance the NRAO telescopes and ALMA capabilities, amounting to $90 million for NRAO and $30 million for the U.S. share for ALMA over the decade.
The Arecibo telescope is essential for science with pulsars, which test general relativity, constrain the neutron star equation of state, and may lead to the detection of gravitational waves. The telescope can also make the deepest maps of galactic and extragalactic neutral hydrogen currently possible. A future multi-pixel upgrade would dramatically speed up surveys at centimeter wavelengths. The panel