TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State University is joining an international consortium building a large new optical telescope in Chile.

Director Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State's School of Earth and Space Exploration says participation in the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization is a leap forward institutionally for the university.

The university says in a news release released Wednesday that research conducted with the telescope planned for completion at Las Campanas Observatory in 2026 will help answer fundamental questions about the nature of the universe, including planets that could support life.

Other members of the organization include universities and scientific institutions.