TECH

Scientists Blow Up A Mountain To Build a Massive Telescope

20/06/2014 10:47 BST | Updated 20/06/2014 10:59 BST

Scientists have blown the top off of a mountain in Chile. Don't worry though, it's all in the name of space exploration.

The mountain has been given a 40 metre trim in order to clear the way for the European Space Agency's superbly-named Extremely Large Telescope.

Owly Images

With a massive 39-metre mirror it'll be the largest optical telescope in the world with the ability to see 100 million times more light than the human eye.

Of course in order to build such a mammoth telescope the ESA has had to create a suitable platform and the only place that can guarantee the view they need is the Cerro Armazones in Chile.

With several million tonnes of rocks now displaced the work can begin on building a telescope that'll cost €1.08bn and will take nearly a decade to build.

Once finished though it'll be able to collect 100 times more light than the current largest optical telescope in the world wit the hopes being that it'll be able to see some of the earliest galaxies ever created.

The main objective of the E-ELT though is to find life, in particular find life on planets that we would class as 'habitable' with a breathable atmosphere.

Amazingly the ESA had entertained the idea that as well as the Extremely Large Telescope they'd build an Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (OWL) which would sport a 100-metre mirror. Considering the ELT is already set to take 10 years to build and costs over a billion Euros the ESA has canned the idea for now.