National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Scientific Goals and Missions - ALMA Project


In order to study the formation of planetary systems and galaxies through observations of materials such as low-temperature gas and dust in those objects and to aim to detect emission from organic molecules and others, the ALMA Project, a joint international project among Japan, USA and Europe operates, and further develops the Atacama Large Millimeter / sub-millimeter Array, which consists of high-accuracy fifty-four (54) or more 12-meter antennas and twelve (12) 7-meter antennas, located in the Atacama plateau of Northern Chile at an altitude of about 5000 meters.


The missions of this project are:

  1. to provide a stably operational telescope, maximize the availability of observing time, and make the operations user-friendly to facilitate science for broader communities;
  2. to collect and deliver high-quality data sets to the scientific community by operating, maintaining, and further developing a state-of-the-art observatory;
  3. to produce outcomes to meet the scientific requirements from broader fields of research and obtain fair evaluation from the scientific community; and
  4. to dramatically improve the capabilities of the ALMA telescope during ALMA-2 to provide the international academic community with unparalleled radio observation capabilities to explore the birthplace of planets and the evolution of matter in the universe, including elemental components for life.

Primary Scientific Goals

The primary scientific goals of this project during ALMA-2 are:

  1. understanding the formation process of planetary systems on terrestrial orbital scales
  2. understanding the elemental components for life in the birth process of planetary systems
  3. identifying the starting point of elemental synthesis in the Universe

Target Date

End of March 2032