Workers strike at world's largest radio telescope

August 22, 2013
In this Sept. 27, 2012 file photo, radio antennas are spread out on the terrain as part of one of the worlds largest astronomy projects, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chajnator in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. Workers at the world's largest radio telescope are staging a strike to demand a 15 percent salary increase and benefits to compensate for the high altitude and isolation they endure at their jobs. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz, File)

Workers at the world's largest radio telescope went on strike Thursday to demand better pay and working conditions.

The work stoppage began after union workers failed to reach an agreement with Associated Universities Inc., which employs the Chilean staff.

Nearly 200 striking workers are demanding a 15 percent salary increase as well as benefits to compensate for the high altitude and isolation they endure.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, is on a remote plateau above Chile's Atacama desert some 16,400-feet (5,000-meter) above sea level. Workers are exposed to strong winds, thin air and severe temperature drops.

It's the lack of humidity and low interference from other radio signals that make it the perfect spot for ALMA, which reaches farther than any other radio telescope.

ALMA searches for clues about the dawn of the cosmos, from the coldest gases and dust where galaxies are formed to the energy produced by the Big Bang. The $1.4 billion project is jointly funded by the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe.

Explore further: ALMA reveals constituent of a galaxy at 12.4 billion light-years away

Related Stories

Another amazing ALMA result

May 30, 2013

Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revealed some of the most distant and actively star forming galaxies in our universe, thanks to an effect called gravitational lensing, which ...

Recommended for you

Ceres image: The lonely mountain

August 25, 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers).

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.