Indonesia to build Southeast Asia's largest observatory
The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) is set to build Southeast Asia's largest observatory in Timau in the Kupang regency of East Nusa Tenggara, an official said.
On Monday, Kupang regent Ayub Titu Eki revealed that plans are already under way in conjunction with Lapan, as reported by tempo.co. The observatory is expected to encourage tourism in the area as well as developing the region as a research and technology center.
"Lapan will develop the facility to be a natural tourism site that would be attractive to tourists," Titu said.
An advanced telescope measuring 3.8 meters in diameter would be placed in the building, Titu said, adding that it would be the largest in Southeast Asia.
Lapan said the mountainous region of Timau is considered a strategic spot for space observation, covering both northern and southern directions.
Lapan is in the beginning stages of developing the facility, Titu said, adding that several heavy vehicle units had been being delayed due to severe road damage throughout the Kupang region.
"The Kupang regional government has informed the central government to repair the damaged roads because the observatory’s construction is earmarked for early next year," he added.
In the meantime, he said, Lapan is also currently building a science center in the Tilong area in Central Kupang on an area spanning 40 hectares that would be dedicated to research.