Land-based telescopes are in the challenging position of justifying their existences. As soon as a really huge, powerful telescope is built, something else is about to overtake it technically. The science pushes instrumentation forward and smaller, earlier telescopes must give way to their progeny. Clever telescope management looks ahead as to ways and means of applying different instruments onto the original telescope in order to help it keep pace with innovations.
Eduardo Marin, Science Operation Specialist, with a background in operations as well as astronomy, is uniquely qualified to speculate on future directions. “A lot of the smaller, early telescopes are going robotic. They will be controlled remotely.”
This is my final day at the summit of Cerro Pachon — I return today to Gemini’s office complex in La Serena. After five days at altitude I am both grateful at the unprecedented access to the telescope itself and the gracious astronomers who invited me into their world and also happy to be heading back down to a place with more oxygen for my brain!