Gates Sees Stars, Donates $10M to 'Scope

Joins 2nd Microsoft mogul in backing plan to photograph heavens
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2008 4:05 PM CST

(Newser) – Bill Gates and Bill Simonyi—space geeks and Microsoft billionaires both—are donating $30 million to the Chilean-based Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the Guardian reports. The $400 million endeavor, scheduled to be working in 2015, will snap pics of the sky with a 3,200 megapixel digital camera every 15 seconds—and aid endeavors ranging from galaxy-hunting to cosmology.

Gates said the 'scope's photos—terabytes of data nightly—will allow space-lovers to peruse the heavens via software. "[It is] a shared resource for all humanity—the ultimate network peripheral device to explore the universe," he said. Gates kicked in $10 million of his own money and Simonyi $20 million. Simonyi is no stranger to the heavens: He is one of only five tourists to visit the International Space Station. (Read more Cerro Pachon stories.)