SA determined to build MeerKAT

2011-12-14 15:57
An impression of what the final design will look like. (Picture provided)

An impression of what the final design will look like. (Picture provided)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Carnarvon - The government will soldier on with a multi-billion rand Karoo telescope, that will allow astronomers to see billions of years back in time, regardless of what happens with a bid to build the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Deputy Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom said the R1.1bn MeerKAT telescope offers a "multiplicity" of science and technology benefits for South Africa.

"If we want to put our economy onto a growth trajectory then we have to start moving from being a resource economy to a knowledge economy," said Hanekom.

"We are doing ground breaking science work with the MeerKAT project."

The MeerKAT will use 64 satellite dishes that pick up radio waves from deep space. The waves will form pictures that will help astronomers understand more about the universe and its origins.

Financial problems

It will be the largest, most sensitive telescope in the southern hemisphere.

"Opportunities for Africa to be catapulted into the world of science don't come around very often. So we are proceeding with the MeerKat and the investment will follow."

It is hoped that the MeerKAT will be expanded to form the more than 3 000 satellite SKA radio telescope.

SA has to beat Australia in a bid to build the €2bn SKA, but financial problems in Europe and the US have raised questions about whether the project has a future.

The US has indicated that it will not build any telescopes for the next ten years, while the EU is in the middle of a debt crisis and is likely to cut back on projects like the SKA.

Justin Jonas, the director for science and engineering at the SKA South Africa Project, refuses to be downcast.

"It's not build or die," he said at the arid proposed site of the SKA outside Carnarvon in the Northern Cape.

"We are going to build MeerKAT and lots of people are going to use it. The MeerKAT can still be enlarged to be the SKA."

Jonas said South Korea, India and even the EU could still help finance the project.

The SKA board, which is yet to appoint a leadership, will meet for the first time on January 18 to evaluate the South African and Australian bids.

Jonas said it was "anyone's guess" as to when the bid winner would be announced.
Read more on:    derek hanekom  |  kimberley  |  astronomy  |  ska

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
27 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.