May 17, 2006
Today, Dr. William Smith, President of AURA, announced the subaward of a grant to the Giant Magellan Telescope consortium for the development of a design for a Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope (GSMT). This subaward would complete the AURA plan the funding of two alternative designs for the GSMT, the Thirty Meter Telescope, and, now, the Giant Magellan Telescope. On October 5, 2005, AURA solicited letters of intent from potential bidders for an alternative GSMT design
. Two letters were received, one from GMT and one, called ATLAS, from the University of Chicago. A peer review panel was formed under the guidance of the GSMT Science Working Group. The peer review panel, chaired by Terry Herter of Cornell, was unanimous in their recomendation that AURA make the subaward to the GMT Consortium. Future funding levels will depend on the annual amounts included in the NSF budget.