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Proceedings Paper

High-altitude medical and operations problems and solutions for the Millimeter Array
Author(s): Peter J. Napier; John B. West
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Paper Abstract

The 5000m altitude of the potential site for the Millimeter Array (MMA) in Northern Chile is so high that high-altitude problems for both the staff and equipment must be considered and included in planing for the facility. The very good accessibility of the site, only one hour's drive from the nearest town at altitude 2440m, makes it possible for MMA workers to sleep and perform much of their work at low altitude. Workers on the site will have 11 percent less oxygen available than workers at Mauna Kea Observatory. It is expected that the mental abilities and ability to do hard physical labor of workers on the high site will be reduced by 10 percent to 30 percent compared to sea-level. In-doors working areas on the MMA site will have their atmospheres oxygen enriched to provide an effective working altitude of 3500m where loss of mental ability should be small. Tests of oxygen enrichment at high-altitude Chilean mines and at the University of California White Mountain Research Station show that it is feasible and economic. Problems of equipment operation at 5000m altitude are expected to be manageable.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 July 1998
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3349, Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return, (3 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.316523
Show Author Affiliations
Peter J. Napier, National Radio Astronomy Observatory (United States)
John B. West, Univ. of California/San Diego (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3349:
Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return
Peter J. Quinn, Editor(s)

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