Steve will probably cost something like £100 000, which is actually *really* cheap for a new scientific instrument.
That’s been the challenge really.. we had to build something cheap because there’s not an awful lot of cash in astronomy, and most of it’s going to the new telescopes being built. Steve will be put on an existing telescope, so we’re trying to get the best bang for our buck.
It’s only been made possible by the recent advances in industrial robotics technology. Steve is built from parts that are usually used to manufacture small circuit boards (e.g. for smart phones) in factories. It means we don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ – we can just buy existing stuff and assemble it to do our job.
I’ve had to hack a few things though, to get the performance we need!