Just read on Space Daily that “Five institutions from North America and Europe have created a consortium to oversee the building of a 25-meter submillimeter telescope on a high elevation in Chile. When completed in 2013, the $100 million instrument will be the premier telescope of its kind in the world.”
This has apparently been in the works for a few years, after a $2m feasibility study was done to see if it was, um, feasible.
I remember, over 20 years ago, as a young student at the Summer Science Program in Ojai, California (a VERY cool astronomy/math/computer science program for students who’ve just finished their junior year in high school – i highly recommend it for aspiring scientists) seeing a presentation on the then futuristic Keck telescopes to be built in Hawaii. Amazing to see the progress that’s been made in this field over the past two decades!
And, on a somewhat space-cynic’y note, this is another example of how things are less expensive, and less time-consuming and challenging (albeit still challenging) than trying to do it with humans in LEO or (ha ha ha) on the far side of the Moon.