back to article UK injects £88m into Euro bid to build Hubble-thrashing 'scope

The UK will bung £88m towards the European Southern Observatory's £1bn project to build the world's largest telescope. The cash injection is on top of Blighty's annual £18m contribution to the ESO. Construction of the ground-based European Extremely Large Telescope is underway and is expected to take ten years to complete. We' …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WHY? What a waste of money, people are loosing their jobs and our government is doing things like this! I'm all for research, but do we need this? It's like all the money we give to 3rd world countries. CHARITY STARTS AT HOME.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Stuff like this creates jobs - that's why, not only for the construction of the site but each of the many tens of thousands of components it needs to operate and be maintained.

      There are much bigger wastes of money than this.

      1. Dave 144

        Re: Because

        Apart from it's going to built in another country, using (more than likely) local contractors. The UK as a country don't produce that much in the way of components, so we are no better off there. Keep going, I'm sure you'll find a valid reason eventually.

        1. Ian Yates

          Re: Because

          Any citation for that? I cursory glance over the construction proposal shows that ARUP (UK) and another UK company have already been involved in the design and prototyping of the dome.

          I can see Germany, Belgium, Spain, UK companies mentioned.

          Seems like a good thing to me.

      2. P_0

        Re: Because

        Stuff like this creates jobs - that's why, not only for the construction of the site but each of the many tens of thousands of components it needs to operate and be maintained.

        I agree. Europe, if it can be considered a single entity, needs more investment in science and research. This sort of funding goes some way towards that. Projects like the ESA missions, LHC at CERN do generate business (and I'm not talking about creating the www), and keep skilled Europeans employed.

        Considering a whole generation of southern Europeans are losing out on skilled employment, this sort of project could help to improve that.

        I'd rather see the money spent on this than on Tech City brats.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Because

          But why do we need skilled Europeans?

          If we need anything high tech we can always buy it from China.

          Britain should concentrate on valuable exports; Mr Bean, JK Rowling and X-pop-idol-factor.

          Do you know that the ministry of silly walks receives less funding than the department of health, defence, agriculture etc...

    2. kyza

      Daily defence spending...

      is £106,849,315

      (2012 total £39bn)

      or 19 hours of one day.

      There you go, there's where you can get the money from.

      1. P_0

        Re: Daily defence spending...

        is £106,849,315

        (2012 total £39bn)

        or 19 hours of one day.

        There you go, there's where you can get the money from.

        Or from NHS spending. Or education. I'm not sure what your point is. But I suspect it is some ill conceived slight at the armed forces.

        1. kyza

          Re: Daily defence spending...

          Yes, take the money from healing or educating people not from spending money killing people

          1. Thomas 4

            Re: Daily defence spending...

            Holy shit, when I read the first comment I thought I'd wandered onto the Yahoo comments section.


      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Daily defence spending...

        I watched Ross Kemp in Afganistan last night. They were walking through a village, throwing granades into all the windows / doorways without knowing who was hiding inside first, meanwhile complaining that the locals were shooting at them. And I just had to wonder again; why are we there, doing that?

        I am all for having a defence force, but I think of that for defence. Think of the money we'd have for productive purposes if we weren't using it for distructive ones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Daily defence spending...

          "Think of the money we'd have for productive purposes if we weren't using it for distructive ones."

          Or for teaching people how to spell.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Daily defence spending...

          >I watched Ross Kemp in Afganistan last night. .... And I just had to wonder again; why are we there, doing that?

          I think the global-strategic evaluation of the Afghan war, considering a historical perspective is - "third time lucky"

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Daily defence spending...

            > Stuff like this creates jobs

            Actually it does *not*, because it will be paid by money hoovered up from the economy where said money would be used to buy TV sets, diapers, holidays in Spain, houses, swimming pools, hookers and coke. In other words, jobs may actually be *destroyed*.

            You can argue that you funnel money into "more worthwhile developments" but unfortunately this is being done by the guns and badges of the state (in order that taxes may be collected) or even the printing press (hidden taxation by inflation), so a strong argument for amorality can be made.

            But I don't care. FUND IT! BUILD IT!!

        3. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: Daily defence spending...

          Ah, the weasely politician words: "defence spending", which is almost exclusively used to attack others.

          George Orwell was right:

          Ministry of Plenty = responsible for famine

          Ministry of Truth = responsible for lies

          Ministry of Love = responsible for hate

          Ministry of Peace = responsible for war

        4. bearded bear can

          Re: Daily defence spending...

          Off topic but nonetheless - we are there on a fool's errand. Just watch what happens when we leave next year!

      3. kyza

        Re: Daily defence spending...

        That should read '£88m represents 19 hours of one day'

    3. Mike 68


      Using 'loosing' instead of 'losing' - instant loss of argument

    4. batfastad

      Human advancement

      Oh no... must not... can't... resist...

      For the advancement of the human race as a whole, that's why. Worried about waste of money? £88m seems like good value for the potential benefits, compared to an Olympics at £15bn (lucky lucky London), HS2 for £30bn (to cut a journey time by 20 minutes), or data snooping for the rozzers at £3bn.

      If a company makes people redundant it's often because the people are rubbish or the company as a whole is not making enough money. If a private company is not making enough money then its not the gov's fault or responsibility to subsidise the company (which it seems you are suggesting they do). The government should do its best to look after people who have no jobs, to keep the population healthy and well-educated (with projects like this). All of which it does to varying (although gradually decreasing) degrees.

      I hate politicians and public sector inefficiency as much as anyone but £88m is nothing compared to the amounts that are normally thrown to the wind.

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      I suggest you go post to the Daily Beobachter forum

      Price of telescope: 88m

      Price of building the site using cheap local labour - 1m

      Price of building the telescope high tech components - mirror, cameras, actuators, software, control etc (nearly all of it in Europe) - 87m.

      Which part of this f*** equation do you fail to understand?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: I suggest you go post to@ Voland's right hand

        "Which part of this f*** equation do you fail to understand?"

        This apparently immutable law applies just as directly to military spending, and therefore does nothing to justify frittering yet more millions that we don't have. By your logic, speeding fat Brummie councillors to meetings with DCLG in London at a cost (before overspends) of £18bn will be even better, because it "creates jobs", and invoilves high tech manufacturing of a few high speed trains and related infrastructure?

        Unfortunately the cumulative UK public spending budget deficits for the past decade and a half have been a similar Keynesian approach to managing the economy, in the belief that you can improve things by creating jobs through stimulus. The banking sector and its customers tried a similar approach of spending what they jointly didn't have in pursuit of economic growth. In neither public nor private case has the outcome been succesful or led to growth, and the most indebted economies are those that now have the worst recessions/weakest growth. Conversely, the richest and most stable countries in Europe are those that didn't try and live beyond their means (Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway) and didn't fall for this Keynesian claptrap.

    6. BCS

      £88m is approx £1.39 per person in the UK. I'm quite happy to have £1.39 spent in my name on something that advances human knowledge thanks. Especially compared to the £10.28 we each lost when the Govt temporarily nationalised Northern Rock.

      I always wonder what people who moan about money being spent on things think the money should be used for. Should we give each unemployed lay-about a few more notes so they can buy fags and booze? Or perhaps we should build nice big houses for single mums with kids from several absentee fathers?

      Me? I'd spend the money on "science and stuff" because our species will benefit from it - it won't benefit from people who live their entire lives on benefits.

      source of population at 63.2m:

      source of the £650m loss in Northern Rock:

    7. Euripides Pants

      Re: our government is doing things like this!

      Would you rather have them enacting new laws to make more things illegal?

    8. Don Jefe


      You suck.

    9. bearded bear can


  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Luke McCarthy

    Looks more like Mars than Chile...

  4. Steve May 1

    No imagination

    Astronomers seem to run out of ideas when naming new instruments. What next? The F****** Enormous Telescope?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No imagination

      It's based on a previous proposal called the "Overwhelmingly Large Telescope". I actually find the method of naming scientific megaprojects by simply applying very accurate descriptors to have a certain charm!

      1. Seanmon
        Thumb Up

        Re: No imagination

        I read (here in commentard central, in fact) that the very literal names given to these things are a sly joke by the German contingent, who are of course famous for not having a sense of humour. True or not, it's damn funny.

    2. Ian Yates

      Re: No imagination

      They're geeks, so surely YABT (Yet Another Big Telescope)?

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    16 times sharper...

    wot dat mean - resolution 4 times as good?

    1. sandman

      Re: 16 times sharper...

      Nah, they just keep hitting "Sharpen more" in Photoshop...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: 16 times sharper...

        Zooming in on the photo of the reflection in a car's rear view mirror of a shop window on the other side of the street reflecting the sniper as he shoots, then sharpening...

  6. Senior Ugli

    Id much rather a telescopr built that stuff like the gov making train lines people dont want or spending tons on blocking torrent sites cos they dont understand how the internet works.

    If you think about it the next logical step is to move to another planet, so we need to understand space pretty well. This planets been harvested, pillaged and raped of everything it has, not long now till the end.

    Its a shame that kids arnt growing up with a interest in space and the ability to see impressive things to inspire them. However celebs and being thick for money seems to be much more interesting

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      spEak You're bRanes

      You don't really have any notion of quite how vast a planet is, do you? Or how resilient and adaptive a species humankind actually is? Let alone an ecosystem that has survived cataclysms vastly more devastating than anything humans have ever managed. Even if the global warming pessimists are right and even if we hit peak oil and even if we have another brace of horrendously virulent pandemics, humans will still be here. The planet will still be here. There will even be a biosphere, though perhaps one a little different to that we can see today. Might not be much oil, mind you.

      Not long til the end indeed. Bloody stupid sensationalist millenarian nonsense.

      1. joeW

        Re: spEak You're bRanes

        But when the next whacking great meteor slams into us, we're toast. Gone in the blink of an eye, a dusty little foot-note in the chapter of galactic history entitled "They could've been contenders".

        But if we, as a species, manage to spread out even just a little - then there will be no stopping us.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: spEak You're bRanes

          How about gamma-ray bursts?

      2. Osmosis Jones

        Re: spEak You're bRanes

        Humans have been on this planet for a very very short time in relation to the planets existence and even the existence of life. (c.100k years vs 500m years for other developed animals)

        While I agree with you, there are very few events that would result in the total loss of life on earth, the continued existence of any particular species is much less of a sure thing. There have been a number of mass extinctions (some scientists are of the opinion "we are overdue another one"). For such a self destructive species, I would not take our survival for granted.

        So far we are less than blink of an eye in the face of existence on this plant, my guess is we'll remain so.

  7. ukgnome


    Isn't it nice that we are all in it together.

    I'm sure that money would only be wasted otherwise.

  8. Joe Thorpe


    What a total waste of money that will benefit no one outside of Chile!

    1. Don Jefe


      I trust you are making a joke. Right? Please tell me you are joking...

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Alien Control of the Internet is Freely Available in a Great Game Deal for a tad more than £88m

    A little something that Intelligence and GCHQ are not going to shout about above the rooftops or into the underground, because it is so easily invisibly exported to whoever would think that it be needed to deliver them ....... well, absolute superiority in every field one is engaged in, is not an exaggeration whenever a definite factoid /guaranteed proposition........

  10. Fink-Nottle


    In response to all those 'waste of money' comments ...

    - the £88m is a long term commitment spread out over 10 years

    - the investment guarantees involvement of UK engineers and scientists in the project

    - the investment had already resulted in UK contracts in the region of £10m

  11. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    Euro bid to build Hubble-thrashing 'scope

    No site, based n earth, can take better definition pictures than Hubble.

    The big difference? Airborne pollution. And, as you might expect, it's getting worse and affecting all parts of the world.

    Still, spending a pittance on this is better than making bombs and bullets to kill people, many of whom are innocent.

  12. praos


    First you make fun of nanoWales, then you measure it in Hubbles. A reflector calling refractor black.

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