The AMT offers a big opportunity for science in Namibia:
- Through the AMT, Namibia will take active part in the highly visible Event Horizon Telescope project, which will provide unique career opportunities for the scientist at the University of Namibia (UNAM), and can boost their research teams (Master/PhD students, PostDoc researchers and staff members).
- A large fraction of the observing time on the AMT is granted to the UNAM researchers, which they can use, with support from the team at Radboud University, to develop a dedicated research program. Since the AMT will be the only mm-wave radio telescope in Africa, this offers opportunities for developing unique science cases as well as attracting international research(ers). This will boost the research teams (in addition to the EHT-specifiek topic) and will allow UNAM and Namibia to be recognized as major partner and take part in large international science projects like the SKA.
- The operations of the AMT telescope requires skilled scientist and engineers, which is the reason a dedicated training program for Namibian scientists and engineers will be in place. This will give Namibia the expertise to train a new generation of scientist and engineers for future science or other large-scale high-tech facilities.
- The Gamsberg is a unique location which already for many years has been considered a possible location for large-scale optical telescope facilities. The infrastructure that will be brought to the mountain for the AMT, like the access road and facilities, will only add to its attractiveness.
Developing radio astronomy at UNAM
At the moment, UNAM has an astronomy department, but lacks a radio astronomer. That makes the development of Namibian science cases for the telescope difficult. To enable Namibian science to fully benefit from the AMT, the institution of a radio astronomy group in Namibia is recommended. The AMT project strives to fund a radio astronomer (and preferably a mm-wave radio astronomer) at UNAM, so the University will be enabled to develop its own science cases with the telescope, attract foreign partners and thus start building a group of (young) Namibian researchers.