Thank-you everyone who has supported our crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter. Team Mopra has reached our funding goal! Its been an amazing experience these past two weeks as we have seen the donations roll in. Supporters from all over the world have chipped in. While some we know, many we don’t, nor do they know us, yet the donations still come in. It tells us there is a passion for science out there, a desire to lend a hand, to be involved in the research and the voyage of discovery it entails, and to see that a wonderful research facility is not closed down.
This has truly been a team effort by all in Team Mopra, particularly all the students and postdocs at UNSW, Adelaide and Western Sydney University who have pitched in. Domenico Romano produced that fantastic video that welcomed you to Team Mopra on the Kickstarter site. In the days ahead we hope to introduce you to more of the team, for we have recorded many more videos of team members talking about the science they do with Mopra. Though we just have to sort out how we upload all these videos for you to see.
But above all this campaign has been the work of Catherine Braiding, whose vision it has been, who cajoled us all back at the start of the year to think about the possibility of using crowd funding to save Mopra, and then has carefully crafted the campaign. Thank-you Catherine!
The funding we have received from your generous donations will now let us finish our initial goal, which is to complete the first part of the survey of the Fourth Quadrant of the Milky Way in molecular gas. We will be able to run the telescope for the 2-3 more months needed so that we can survey through the heart of the Galactic Plane, the 90 degrees of the Fourth Quadrant (or Delta Quadrant) of the Galaxy, from a longitude of 270° to 360° (or -90° to 0° if your prefer). The map will be of the very heart of the southern Milky Way, covering the inner one degree in latitude (or b=-1/2° to +1/2°). The heart where the star forming cauldrons lie.
But there is more. What we would really like to do is to stretch the map a little more in latitude, to cover the inner 2° (i.e. from b=-1° to +1°). This will then ensure we are able to map the great majority of the molecular clouds in the southern Milky Way. The clouds do stretch further out than this in latitude, but by far the majority of the molecular gas lies within the inner 2 degrees of latitude. But this is a big project, one that will take us another 3 years to complete.
So we are pushing on with the crowd funding campaign, all the way to its closing date of October 13. Every further donation that we receive will help us continue the map further. It will also allow to keep Mopra going, to keep it running while we seek funding through more conventional means. For if Mopra is allowed to close, its systems will deteriorate rapidly. It will then be very unlikely that we could get it going again were funds to be received to restore it, at least not without many of the sub-systems needing repair, and so at even more cost.
Thank-you very, very much!