The major conclusions that I have ten-tatively reached from this work are asfollows:
Although there are very challengingtechnical problems ahead we see noengineering or scientific reasons thatshould prevent us from accomplish-ing the VLT programme.(2) Several technical and scientific areashave not received the degree ofattention that they require due to lackof manpower or expertise.Areas of particular concern are:
Performance evaluation and erroranalysis
Operations and maintenance
Software architecture and develop-ment
Data calibration and archiving
Observational modes (service ob-serving, remote observing, observa-tional strategies, pointing and track-ing, etc.)
The programme is delayed with re-spect to the original schedule. Againthis is due to lack of manpowernecessary to do all the preliminarystudies required to draw up the callfor tenders to industry, issue themand evaluate the responses, with therequired thoroughness. Furthermore,the manpower to follow up the workof the industrial contractors is whollyinadequate.(4) The effort expended on VLTl has notbeen adequate to keep the pro-gramme on schedule. Lack ofmanpower has prevented us to de-rive the necessary constraints im-posed on the rest of the programmeby the high accuracy required byVLTl itself.
Finally, but by no means less im-portant, there has been a remark-able lack of scientific input in theprogramme as a whole. Scientificrequirements have not been usedas drivers to technical requirementsand operational considerationsnecessary to carry out scientific pro-grammes are not used explicitly or ina documented way to set softwareand hardware designs.Remedies can be found to all of theabove and a number of actions are al-ready under way which should improvethe situation:(1) Strengthening the involvement andresponsibility of scientific staff in theprogramme should permit us to moreclearly identify critical performancerequirements and avoid unnecessaryoverdesign. To this end I am insistingon more involvement by the scien-tists at ESO in the project in the shortrun and in a strengthening of thescientific staff in the long run.
Development of a first cut vision ofhow VLT will operate to carry outscientific programmes will permit usto design into the telescopes andinstruments the operability and main-tainability standards that are re-quired. To this end we are creating aVLT science operation group withinthe VLT division led by a scientist andwe are making use of expert consul-tants.(3) More careful strategic planning ofprocurement actions could eliminateor substantially reduce the technicaland management risks involved in aprocurement of this size and com-plexity.(4) Prudent use of consultants and in-dustrial consulting services particu-larly in the system engineering areacould significantly help ESO to carryout the prime contractor respon-sibilities it has assumed. MassimoTarenghi and I have discussed withindustrial contractors the possiblemechanisms to provide suchsupport.
More emphasis on VLT operationanalysis and planning will be veryuseful to prevent a number of retrofit-ting problems downstream and inassuring that VLT once built will carrythe science it is supposed to do.Such analysis will affect the require-ments we place on instrumentationbuilders and on software developers.The starting point of this understand-ing has to be the scientific considera-tions developed under point 2 butthey will have to be fully worked outin a realistic operational setting.(6)To progress in the VLTl part of theproject, the programme will have tobe given more means, more inde-pendence, more accountability andmore emphasis. The total staff
now involved in this aspect of VLTmust be increased to reduce the cur-rent slippage in the necessarystudies and procurement actions.Recognizable scientific leaderhip isessential in this programme.
Manpower resources will have to beincreased in critical areas. Withoutadequate in-house staff the VLT pro-gramme cannot be accomplished. Itis my belief that the necessary staffincreases in the areas that are criticalcan be accomplished without in-creasing substantially either the run-out cost of the programme or theyearly budget of ESO.It is difficult at this late date in theprogramme to fundamentally changethe design of VLT or substantiallychange its scope. Furthermore, I firmlybelieve that the current programme con-sisting of an integrated VLT, VLTl andassociated laboratories, shops andfacilities should be conceived as a sin-gle entity whose realization as a wholewill place us in a competitive positionwith respect to other large telescopeprojects. Although we have examinedpossible cuts to the programme, we findthem to yield quite small financial re-turns at a disproportionate scientificcost.The alternate plan we have developedis aimed to carry out the full VLT pro-gramme as currently conceived, includ-ing a number of necessary activitieswhich were neglected in the originalplan but which are essential. It is in myopinion reasonably robust with respectto technical risks, manpower estimatesand schedules.
Other ESO Activities
have not yet been able to review insimilar detail all other ESO activities al-though I have formed some opinions onthem through visits, in-house reviews,discussions with consultants, etc.
It is quite clear that La Silla will remainfor the many years before the advent ofVLT the only substantial ground-basedastronomical facility available to manyEuropean astronomers.Furthermore, even after the advent ofVLT there are a number of programmeswhich could and should be done onsmaller telescopes of the 3-4-metreclass. It is not at all obvious that trans-porting these telescopes to Paranalwould be either financially, operational-ly, logistically or scientifically advan-tageous. Thus I think one cannot con-sider for the next several years (or pos-sibly next decade) that La Silla could orshould be shut down. Once this isunderstood there remains the issue ofthe scope of the work that should becarried out there.The variety of different facilities, tele-scopes, modes of operations, develop-mental programmes, collaborative pro-grammes, remote observing, and ser-vice programmes which are beingcarried out in addition to the basic oper-ations of the major facilities is bewilder-ing and constitutes a fragmentation ofeffort without a clear idea of priorities.The effort of the working group on "LaSilla scientific priorities" chaired byJo-hannes Andersen will provide importantsuggestions in this respect.This effort will be important to im-prove the quality of work at La Silla andis absolutely essential to permit us tocarry out those activities which will allow