The National Geographic Institute (IGN) has ruled out building next to the Tamadaba Natural Park the radio telescope of the Atlantic Network of Geodynamic and Space Stations (RAEGE) that it intended to build in Gran Canaria and has decided find a new location within the same island.
In a statement, the Ministry of Transport explains that the site chosen since 2017, on land donated by the Cabildo in the Cruz de Acusa (Artenara), had “excellent characteristics”, but it is going to choose another place after having stayed these protected lands within the perimeter of the “Cultural Landscape of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria”, well recognized as World Heritage by Unesco last summer.
As highlighted by the Ministry, its commitment, like that of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, with the preservation of our environmental and cultural heritage, “invites us to leave the selected site in the municipality of Artenara and look for a new one, which must comply with the conditions required by the project, at least with a level of compliance similar to the current one. “
The search, which is going to start shortly on the island of Gran Canaria itself, will consist of carrying out new feasibility studies in areas without technical or environmental restrictions first within the municipality of Artenara and, if unsuccessful, in other locations that, if successful, would also entail significant socio-economic and cultural benefits for the island.
An observing system of the planet
The Atlantic Network of Geodynamic and Space Stations (RAEGE) was launched by the IGN in collaboration with the Regional Government of Azores, as the joint Spanish-Portuguese contribution to GGOS (Global Geodetic Observing System), an international geodetic observing system constituted for more than 20 geodetic stations installed around the planet and whose tasks are the determination of positions on Earth with very high precision, the study of the drift of continents or the increase or decrease of the average level of the oceans, keys to monitoring the global warming process, among many other applications.
The fundamental part of the RAEGE project consists of the construction, installation and commissioning of four Fundamental Geodetic Stations in Yebes (Guadalajara), located on the Eurasian tectonic plate; Canaries, on the African plate; Santa María (Azores), also on the African plate; and Flores (Azores), on the American tectonic plate. This project has already made Spain one of the countries that technologically leads the contribution of interferometric networks of space geodesy to GGOS.
The complete start-up of RAEGE will also enhance IGN’s international scientific presence, becoming a center for the analysis of geodesy and VLBI (Very Long Base Interferometry), and placing Spain at the forefront of the study of global change and positioning on earth and in space.
The radio telescopes of the Astronomical Observatory of Yebes (Guadalajara) and of the Island of Santa María (Azores) are already in operation, leaving for the completion of the project the installation of the other two projected stations, one in the Canary Islands and another in the Island of Flores en Azores, the latter responsibility of the Regional Government of Azores. Next to the radio telescope, the construction of the complete geodetic station is planned, which will include control buildings and other geodetic instrumentation.