Images from ground-based telescopes are invariably distorted by the Earth's atmosphere. Orbiting space telescopes, however, operating above Earth's atmosphere, should provide superbly detailed images. Therefore, ground-based telescopes will soon become obsolete for advanced astronomical research purposes.

Which of the following statements, if true, would cast the most doubt on the conclusion drawn above?

An orbiting space telescope due to be launched this year is far behind schedule and over budget, whereas the largest ground-based telescope was both within budget and on schedule.

Ground-based telescopes located on mountain summits are not subject to the kinds of atmospheric distortion which, at low altitudes, make stars appear to twinkle.

By careful choice of observatory location, it is possible for largeaperture telescopes to avoid most of the kind of wind turbulence that can distort image quality.

When large-aperture telescopes are located at high altitudes near the equator, they permit the best Earth-based observations of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, a prime target of astronomical research.

Detailed spectral analyses, upon which astronomers rely for determining the chemical composition and evolutionary history of stars, require telescopes with more light-gathering capacity than space telescopes can provide.


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