Flagstaff, Ariz. – Today, Lowell Observatory and Discovery Communications,
Inc., announced their collaboration to build a $30 million telescope that
will significantly impact the exploration of our solar system and the
universe beyond.

The Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) – designed exclusively for Lowell
Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. – will be among the most sophisticated
ground-based telescopes of its size. The four-meter telescope will have a
significantly wider field of view than any currently existing telescope of
its size, giving it the unprecedented ability to survey the sky at nearly
eight times the capacity of the largest existing survey telescope. In this
wide-field mode, the DCT’s ability to perform deep imaging surveys of the
night sky will be unmatched. This versatile telescope can be quickly
converted to its alternative optical configuration, allowing it, unlike
other pure survey telescopes, to be highly effective during bright phases of
the moon. Once operational, the DCT also will have real-time capability,
allowing the images acquired by the telescope to be simultaneously broadcast
to people around the world.

“Since its founding more than a century ago, Lowell Observatory has been
dedicated to astronomical research, particularly the study of our solar
system and its evolution, and to sharing that knowledge with the public,”
said Robert L. Millis, director of the observatory. “The Discovery Channel
Telescope will have a considerable impact on the exploration of our solar
system and the deep reaches of space, and we are very excited to be working
in partnership with Discovery Communications to develop this innovative

Millis also noted that the partnership with Discovery Communications, Inc.,
which also includes educational programming and Lowell Observatory’s
involvement in Discovery’s annual Young Scientists Challenge, was a natural
fit given the Lowell’s research and educational mission and the founding
principles of the education and discovery-oriented company.

“Discovery Communications was founded to provide the highest-quality
television in the world enabling people to explore their world and satisfy
their natural curiosity,” said John S. Hendricks, founder, chairman and CEO
of Discovery Communications, Inc. “Together, Discovery and Lowell
Observatory will literally explore our world and bring the most exciting new
discoveries found in our universe to millions of people around the globe.”
Among the DCT’s numerous scientific objectives, the search for near-Earth
asteroids, Kuiper Belt Objects and planets orbiting other stars, will be
substantially advanced.

Approximately 2,300 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered in the last
decade. Once complete, the DCT will make it possible to identify the same
number of potentially life-threatening near-Earth asteroids in just 30 days.
The DCT also will make it possible to identify smaller near-Earth asteroids
capable of causing regional devastation. Currently, the federally mandated
search for near-Earth asteroids focuses on objects that are larger than a
kilometer in diameter and capable of creating global devastation.

Similar results are expected in the search for Kuiper Belt Objects, of which
only 863 have been identified and can range in size from that of large
asteroids to objects comparable in size to the planet Pluto. The Kuiper
Belt, the first objects of which were discovered in 1992, is a sun-centered
swarm of orbiting icy bodies extending from Neptune to as yet unknown

Construction is expected to begin on the DCT in fall 2004, with completion
in 2008. The telescope’s innovative components are already in design and
production. The DCT’s mirror blanks are being developed by Corning
Incorporated in Canton, N.Y. Design currently continues on the following
telescope components: optical system by Goodrich Corporation in Danbury,
Conn.; facility and site design by M3 Engineering in Tucson, Ariz.; and the
telescope mount by Vertex RSI in Richardson, Texas. The camera that Lowell
will design and build for the four-meter telescope will have 36 2K by 4K
charge-coupled devices capable of acquiring enormous amounts of data from
each exposure and has a two degree field of view.

The DCT is being jointly funded by Discovery Communications, Inc., and
Lowell Observatory. Collaborations with additional institutional partners
and private support also are being sought to help fund the venture.

Lowell Observatory was founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell, who was
determined to prove the existence of life on Mars. Lowell Observatory is
among the oldest observatories in the nation, and the observatory’s original
24-inch Alvan Clark Refractor telescope, a national historic landmark, is
still in use today for public education. For more than a century, Lowell
Observatory has been considered among the major astronomical research
observatories in the world. Significant achievements made at Lowell include
the discovery of Pluto and the first evidence of the expansion of the

Discovery Communications, Inc., (DCI) is the leading global real-world media
and entertainment company. DCI has grown from its core property, the
Discovery Channel, first launched in the United States in 1985, to current
global operations in more than 155 countries and territories with over 950
million cumulative subscribers. DCI’s 33 networks of distinctive programming
represent 14 entertainment brands including TLC, Animal Planet, Travel
Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids, Discovery Times Channel,
The Science Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure
Channel, Discovery en Espa-ol, HD Theater and The Health Network. DCI’s
other properties consist of Discovery.com and 138 Discovery Channel retail
stores. DCI also distributes BBC America in the United States. DCI’s
ownership consists of four shareholders: Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE:
L), Cox Communications, Inc. (NYSE: COX), Advance/Newhouse Communications
and John S. Hendricks, the Company’s Founder, Chairman and CEO.