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China and India to become partners in 30 Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea

By Audrey McAvoy

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 3:08 a.m. HST, Jan 12, 2012

China and India are signing on as partners in a telescope that will be the world's largest when it's built at the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano in 2018.

Their participation in the Thirty Meter Telescope will catapult the two nations to the forefront of astronomy research.

As partners, China and India will pay a share of the construction cost, which is expected to top $1 billion. They will also have a share of the observation time.

Shude Mao, an astrophysics professor at the National Astronomical Observatories of China, said Wednesday China has lagged behind other nations in observational astronomy.

But he says China has ambitious science goals and wants to catch up as fast as it can.

A group of California and Canadian universities founded the telescope project.

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