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The world's largest radio telescope is launched in Chile's Atacama desert

The world's biggest radio telescope is being launched in a plateau high above Chile's Atacama desert.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, will search for clues about the dawn of the cosmos — from the coldest gases and dust where galaxies are formed to the energy produced by the Big Bang.

Most of the 66 radio antennas will be inaugurated Wednesday in an official ceremony.

ALMA also reaches farther than any other radio telescope and has captured images different from anything seen before by visible-light and infrared telescopes.

The $1.5 billion project is jointly funded by the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe. It is an engineering triumph that launches Chile to the forefront of ground-based space exploration.