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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M infielder Kaeden Kent (3) celebrates a home run during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Editorial: A&M shows incredible foresight with Thursday’s telescope investment

Courtesy of GMTO Corporation
The Giant Magellan Telescope will be 10 times stronger than the Hubble Space Telescope when it comes online in the 2020s.
 
Courtesy of GMTO Corporation The Giant Magellan Telescope will be 10 times stronger than the Hubble Space Telescope when it comes online in the 2020s.  

Fifteen years ago, Texas A&M was a small dot on the national astronomy roadmap, with a limited amount of students and faculty, older buildings and a department that wasn’t officially recognized until 2009.
Nothing could be further from the truth today.
The future of astronomy belongs to those who are willing to invest in humanity’s next-generation telescopes, and Texas A&M demonstrated it is ready to do so with Thursday’s decision to fulfill a $50 million commitment to the Giant Magellan Telescope. The GMT will be the world’s largest telescope when it comes online in the early 2020s. Its size and breakthrough technologies will allow researchers to literally peer into the past — to use it as a time machine of sorts and shed light on some of the universe’s most coveted secrets.
The chance to be a partner in such a pivotal undertaking is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that Texas A&M is right to secure. The easiest analogy for the importance of the GMT to Texas A&M might be seen in the Hubble Space Telescope. Twenty-five years after it was launched into space, the Hubble continues to produce cutting edge science and to inspire people around the world. Any organization that wishes to stand at the forefront of science would have spared no resource to partner with Hubble, considering the intellectual and cultural wealth it continues to yield.
If all goes to plan, the GMT will have an even greater impact on humanity’s understanding of our place in the universe. It will be 10 times stronger, it will be easier to maintain and Texas A&M will have unique access to its breathtaking capabilities. Not every institution has the foresight to invest in something whose dividends will be paid in scientific discovery, and A&M’s gamble might not pay off in the foreseeable future. But in decades to come, astronomical breakthroughs will most likely be stamped with a familiar maroon and white logo.
Who knows what the next 15 years will have in store?
The Battalion’s editorial opinion is determined by its Editorial Board, with the editor in chief having final responsibility.
The Editorial Board is composed of Mark Dore, Editor in Chief; Aimee Breaux, Managing Editor; Jennifer Reiley, Assistant Managing Editor; and John Rangel, Science & Technology Editor.

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