MRO is primarily intended for astronomical research and will be composed of two facilities, a single 2.4-Meter telescope and an optical/infrared telescope array. It is located on South Baldy Ridge in the Magdalena mountains, some 30 miles west of the New Mexico Tech (NMT) campus. At an elevation of 10,600 ft. above sea level, it is the fourth highest observatory in the world. The 2.4-Meter-diameter single telescope, a fast slewing telescope which can respond quickly to targets-of-opportunity, had first light in October 2006. The interferometer, which will ultimately be composed of ten 1.4 meter telescopes, expects first interferometric beam combination in late 2012. The telescopes making up the interferometer will be spaced by distances of up to 340 meters.
Last updated or reviewed February 10, 2011.