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ALMA In Search of our Cosmic Origins

This 16-minute video presents the history of ALMA from the origins of the project several decades ago to the recent first science results. Illustrated by dramatic helicopter footage, the movie takes you on a journey to the 5000-metre-high Chajnantor Plateau, where ALMA stands, in the unique environment of the Atacama Desert of Chile. The movie was released by ESO, with its international partners to mark the occasion of the inauguration of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) on 13 March 2013.

ALMA In Search of our Cosmic Origins tells the story of the project from its earliest beginnings, when Europe, North America and East Asia developed a common concept for a new, large telescope for millimetre and submillimetre wavelength observations to observe the coldest and most distant objects in the Universe. It also charts the search for the perfect location and the technical and logistical challenges posed by the building of such a massive infrastructure under extremely harsh conditions and in a remote place.

The movie includes detailed shots of the complex and fascinating technology that ALMA depends on, and explains how the 66 antennas were installed on the high desert plain. It also provides insights into the exciting scientific developments that this, the most powerful telescope of its kind, will bring. These expectations are already being fulfilled by the first science results, obtained before the facilities were even complete.