A large spectroscopic survey facility at GTC for the next decade
In the next decade astronomers will attempt to constrain the nature of dark matter, dark energy and the (perhaps inflationary) processes which generated structure as well as understanding the astrophysics of galaxy evolution and the formation and evolution of our Milky Way and Local Group. Large-scale spectroscopic surveys on large telescopes will be critical to achieving reliable results in all these areas. The desideratum is a survey which obtains the spectra of a few times 105 galaxies from the visible into the near IR at each of a sufficient number of redshift slices that one can follow the evolution of all interesting populations. Large samples of different stellar populations in different Local Group environments will also be targeted. I will summarize the outline of a multi-object 0.4-1.7 μ spectrograph for GTC and discuss the status of miniSIDE. MiniSIDE has been conceived as a pathfinder for a large fiber-fed survey spectrograph but will be a scientific instrument on its own, capable of providing high quality science data and be competitive within the instrumentation suite of GTC. A Letter of Intent has been submitted recently to propose miniSIDE as a facility science instrument for GTC.