SKA: SA gets the lion’s share

2012-05-25 15:29

Two-thirds of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) antennae technologies will be built in Africa, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has said.

The other third will be built in Australia and New Zealand, she said at a press conference today.

Pandor said the decision to share was unexpected but SA accepts it in the name of progress.

“This may seem like a compromise, but SA is getting the majority of the project,” said Professor Justin Jonas, SKA Africa’s associate director for science and engineering.

The SKA will be the most sensitive radio telescope in the world, said Pandor.

It will be one the world’s largest science projects as it aims to build over 3 000 linked radio telescopes.

Scientists hope the SKA, a massive radio telescope, will shed light on fundamental questions about the universe including how it began, why it is expanding and whether it contains life beyond our planet.

The eagerly awaited decision now means that engineers can connect aperture arrays at Australia’s core site at Mileura station, about 100km west of Meekatharra in western Australia.

Other parts of the telescope are distributed across Australia and New Zealand.

Some of the equipment will be based in South Africa, some of it will be based in Australia, corresponding to the original design of the telescope.

As a country we remain committed to the SKA project, Pandor said.

“We have always said we are ready to host the SKA and the world has listened.”


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