Why Canada is betting $243.5-million on the Thirty Meter Telescope

Not to be too picky but.... it's an investment dammit - not a bet! Look - I like Semeniuk's work. He seems to appreciate science and he writes good article. But calling it a "bet" is just wrong. No matter what challenges pop up in the implementation - and make no mistake, there will be challenges - the whole point is that we are pushing the envelope. And in the process of fixing the inevitable tears and rips (to push a metaphor beyond it's limits) we will develop new ideas and technologies that Canada will lead the world in. That's how you lead - you get there first.

You don't get to be "innovative" by following the crowd. Someone who knows the subject better has already picked the low hanging fruit and is well on the way to harvesting the rest of the crop (another damn metaphor pushed to its limits).

So no matter how this turns out, Canada will come out ahead. And as a result, the $243.5M is not a "bet" - it's an investment.

Canada’s astronomers have now effectively shouldered part of the burden of making sure the observatory lives up to its impressive billing. Decisions made during the next phase of the project could determine whether, years from now, Canadian taxpayers feel they backed a winner – the astronomical equivalent of the Canadarm, let’s say – or are left wondering what they paid for.

Here are a few of the key hurdles the TMT faces on the road to celestial glory, along with the crucial roles Canadian team members need to play.