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New Name Sought For Iconic U.S. Telescope

MAGDALENA, N.M., Oct. 18 (UPI) — The Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico, with its multiple dishes familiar to audiences of movies like “Contact,” needs a new name, officials said.

The public is being asked to submit suggestions for a new name for the facility to mark the end of a decade’s worth of upgrades that have increased VLA’s technical capabilities by a factor of as much as 8,000, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

Officials at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory said the facility’s original 1970s electronics have all been replaced with state-of-the-art equipment and a new name should reflect its new capabilities.

The observatory said it is soliciting ideas for a new name from the public and scientists.

In addition to “Contact,” the iconic spread of radio dishes near Magdalena, N.M., have had cameo appearances in “Armageddon” and “Tranformers: Dark of the Moon.”

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