Scientists Live in the World’s Highest Space Laboratory

By Dialogo
March 20, 2009

I have one little history about that event “Earth Hour,” yesterday, every year, allover the planet. Could it help the planet, of course, but there is something more deep in that fact that we need to figure out. For mine thinks, it’s one point the view very restrict where we‘ll see the results that experiment lights years after. The idea is The Earth Hour is one away to sent a signal of the life to universe, If you don’t believe about this point than you need to look for information from, NASA, the ALMA complex (Chilean Andes), The AOS (Array Operations Site - Tibet), believe or not something are happening more than you can think. North American, Japanese, and European scientists live and work together daily in the world’s highest space laboratory, located more than 5,060 meters above sea level in the Chilean Andes, where the ALMA complex, the most advanced radio astronomy observatory in the world, will be installed. The AOS (Array Operations Site) is the second highest building in the world, in the Llano de Chajnantor, at the end of a railroad station located a few feet below the mountains of Tibet, an ALMA representative explained to EFE. It is an oxygenated and pressurized area; allowing employees to work in a safe and comfortable environment, despite its altitude of over 5,000 meters, where breathing and moving are difficult tasks because of the low oxygen concentration. The almost total lack of humidity in this northern region of Chile, approximately 1,650 kilometers from Santiago, is one of the conditions that facilitate observation of the millimeter and sub millimeter wavelengths released by galaxies and stars, but it also makes lips and throats extremely dry, increasing the need for constant hydration. The thin atmosphere is aggravated by brutal temperature differences, from -10 degrees Celsius at night to almost 30 degrees Celsius during the day, characteristic of the world’s driest deserts, such the Atacama Desert, and of very high mountains, such as the Andes. Any visit to the AOS is preceded by a medical checkup in order to guarantee that the individual is in sufficient physical condition to ascend to such elevations, making that individual accountable for anything that may happen due to such circumstances. The buildings are equipped with 30 SPF sunscreen dispensers located near all exterior doors, and bottles of water are available throughout all buildings for both workers and visitors. Workers currently building equipment for the observatory have to carry small oxygen cylinders and cover themselves well with sunscreen to protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet rays, which are more dangerous at an altitude of 5,000 meters. The AOS will also house the world’s most powerful computer, the Correlater, which will receive signals from the 66 antennas which will create ALMA’s radio telescope, and after this process the signals will be sent to the second technical building in the complex, located 2,900 meters away, via a fiber optic connection. The Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub millimeter Array (ALMA) is the largest global scientific project created by European, North American, and Japanese partners, in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA will offer the ability to study the origin of the cosmos through the observation of the millimeter and sub millimeter wavelengths released by the particles which form galaxies, planets, and stars. In radio astronomy, visible light and optical observation of the sky are replaced by the analysis of another type of wave, which, for the first time in history, will provide information on the age of the universe, the activity of the sun, and the formation of galaxies.
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