The current construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope completed excavations for its foundations in six months instead of the planned 8-months. The foundations of the Giant Magellan Telescope’s massive pier and enclosure are now complete. The site construction team is now moving onto the next phase of the project known as the “water package,” which is expected to take about 8 months to complete. The water package involves the installation of water pipes and electrical conduits across the GMT facilities on the mountain; and construction of a water equipment building to store, treat and distribute water from the existing Las Campanas Observatory water storage tank.
Following the completion of the water package, the construction of a temporary concrete plant on the summit, and construction of the concrete foundations for the telescope pier, enclosure, and summit utility building will begin in 2020. It will start operation with four of the seven planned mirrors.
The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is a ground-based extremely large telescope under construction, planned for completion in 2025. It will consist of seven 8.4 meter (27.6 ft) diameter primary segments, that will observe optical and near infrared (320–25000 nm) light, with the resolving power of a 24.5 m (80.4 ft) primary mirror and collecting area equivalent to a 22.0 m (72.2 ft) one, which is about 368 square meters. The telescope is expected to have 10 times greater power than the Hubble Space Telescope, and will be the largest optical observatory in the world. The $1 billion project is US-led in partnership with Australia, Brazil, and South Korea, with Chile as the host country.