Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Update

By/par Patrick Hall, MSE Management Group Member
(Cassiopeia – Autumn/l’automne 2017)

The MSE Project Office staff continues its work in preparation for a System Conceptual Design Review by the end of the year. Mature drafts are being prepared of the four top level documents – Science Requirements, Observatory Architecture, Observatory Requirements and Operations Concept – together with technical budgets and cost and schedule estimates. Together, these documents describe the architectural, engineering and operational aspects of the entire MSE system and decompose the system into a set of subsystems that together meet the high level science goals of the facility. In related news, the geotechnical firm Fewell has confirmed the structural strength of the soil at the CFHT site is sufficient to support the new enclosure and telescope.

The MSE Management Group continues its work on a pre-construction phase Master MOU, also expected to be completed by the end of the year. This agreement will establish the framework within which existing and new MSE partners will proceed with the preliminary design of MSE.

It will be essential for Canada to contribute to the upcoming preliminary design work to maintain a significant share in the governance of the MSE project and ensure that scientific goals valuable to Canadian astronomers are prioritized in the design and operations. To that end, Canadian members of the MSE Management and Science Advisory Groups drafted a letter asking for NRC collaboration with universities and industry in conducting MSE design work at a level consistent with the recommendation of the 2016 Long-Range-Plan Mid-Term-Review. This letter was circulated widely in the Canadian astronomy community and accrued twenty-six co-signers before being delivered to NRC in early September. Follow-on discussions with NRC will inform upcoming preliminary design work funding applications. If you have not seen the letter but would like to see and perhaps co-sign it, contact Pat Hall.

The MSE website is mse.cfht.hawaii.edu. Questions or comments about MSE governance can be directed to your MSE Management Group Members, Greg Fahlman and Pat Hall. Scientific questions or comments can be directed to your MSE Science Advisory Group Members, Sarah Gallagher and Kim Venn.

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