CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A scientific sphere with a lot of history is about to become history at MIT.
The MIT Radome, an iconic sphere on the skyline of the university's campus, will be replaced by a new futuristic structure that students, faculty, and alumni have raised $2 million to build.
Greg Allan, a graduate student and member of the MIT Radio Society, said the structure, that is 26 feet in diameter, houses a dish antenna that dates back to World War II.
"A lot of the weather radar installations that we use across the U.S. to keep track of severe weather events and predict severe weather events -- all that technology is at least in part based on the research that went on here decades ago," Allan said.
Funds to build the new sphere came largely from community fundraising efforts by the Radio Society -- along with a grant from a radio and communications non-profit.
"[We use the Radome to] communicate with satellites, we use it for astronomy experiments," Allan said. "We actually can use it to detect the radiation -- the microwave radiation -- from hydrogen in the galaxy, so you can use that to map the structure of our galaxy."
Allan said the society also uses the technology to communicate with people around the world -- by bouncing signals off the surface of the moon.
There are no details yet for when the dome will be demolished -- but once the upgrade is complete, it will feature new, state-of-the-art communication technology.
WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin (@mikemacklinwbz) reports.