EXPLAINED: How million dollar space observatory will work
PLANS for a multi-million dollar space observatory upgrade planned south of Toowoomba have been lodged with council, giving unprecedented insight into how the project will work.
Six new telescopes, a control room and new staff will turn the Mount Kent Observatory near Cambooya into a world-class research facility.
A new telescope control building and 12 observatory domes will be built, transforming bservatory into a one of the most advanced facilities in the Southern Hemisphere and put Toowoomba on the map in the search for new planets.
More than $1 million will be spent on a spectrograph, which can record the light from stars and gather information about planets from the lights of stars.
The proposal, lodged by the University of Southern Queensland, is seeking development permits for the land at 262 McGovern Road, Greenmount.
The development seeks retrospective approval for 4 x existing observatory domes noting that the existing education building on-site received town planning consent approval in 1994.
A second stage seeks approval for a new telescope control building and 12 additional observatory domes.
The telescope control building will include a control room, two clean rooms with ante chambers, server room, kitchen and amenities.
The development includes the provision of 8 x gravel surfaced carparks.
The existing education building on-site is serviced with rainwater supplies and onsite wastewater disposal, similar arrangements will be provided for the new telescope control building.
The compound will be enclosed with 2.4m high security fencing.
The site is currently used by the university for education purposes.
The existing education building on-site includes a lecture room, library, work room and rest rooms and is used on an infrequent basis by university academic staff as part of the university's Physical Sciences, Astrophysics and Research academic programs.
The site is also accessed remotely by university research staff and external organisations through the use of monitoring equipment installed on the roof of the building.