The proposal submitted by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to build the world's largest telescope in Chile has been approved, Value Walk reported.
Dubbed as the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), it will feature a composite mirror with a diameter of 128 feet. Due to its size, the E-ELT is four times larger than the biggest existing telescope. The size of the mirror will also allow the telescope to collect more light than the human eye by 100 million times.
According to the ESO, which is composed of 15 South American and European member nations, the E-ELT was designed to allow scientists and researchers to observe other Earth-sized planets that can support living organisms.
"The funds that are now committed will allow the construction of a fully working E-ELT that will be the most powerful of all the extremely large telescope projects currently planned, with superior light collecting area and instrumentation," ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw said in a press release.
"It will allow the initial characterization of Earth-mass exoplanets, the study of the resolved stellar populations in nearby galaxies as well as ultra-sensitive observations of the deep universe," he added.
Lisa Kaltenegger, Director of Pale Blue Dots, an institute that aims to study Earth-like planets, said in a statement that the power of the E-ELT will greatly help in gathering accurate data regarding life-sustaining features of other planets.
"We need big telescopes like this because Earth-like planets are smaller, and have relatively thin atmospheres - so we need to take in a lot of light to analyze them and search of potential signatures of life," she said.
The construction of the E-ELT will take place on the summit of Chile's 9,800-foot-high Cerro Armazones. The officials of ESO chose the Chilean Andes as the location of the telescope because its dry desert air will not hinder it from collecting sharp images, The Guardian reported.
The first step of the construction process involves blasting off the top of the mountain to create a flat surface which will serve as the plateau for the telescope's base.