Very Large Array to expand from 27 antennas to 260

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SOCORRO, N.M. – The Very Large Array near Socorro is scanning space frequencies and life, and it’s been doing that for decades. Soon, we can expect to see that Very Large Array to expand.

A new $2 billion expansion was just announced that would drastically increase the number of antennas. The new project is called the “Next Generation Very Large Array.” 

The National Radio and Astronomy Observatory says the expansion will bring 260 new antennas. 

About 160 antennas will replace the current 27 near Magdalena, and the rest will be scattered around North America. 

As the radio telescopes continue to search for signs of life – and how life on Earth came to be – they’ll also have a stronger range. 

The signal range right now reaches up to 50 gigahertz, but the new range will be extended to 100 gigahertz. 

In total, the Next Generation Very Large Array is said to cost about $92 million a year to run. It’s unclear when the expansion will start.