News24

SA ready to host the SKA - Pandor

2012-03-29 15:12

Cape Town - South Africa is ready to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the minister of science and technology has said.

"Plan A, we're ready to host the SKA; plan B, we're ready to host the SKA; plan C, we're ready and I think that's the message we hope you will help us communicate," Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor told News24.

The SKA will be one the world's largest science projects as it aims to build over 3 000 linked radio telescopes in either SA or Australia which have both submitted competing bids.

SA has built seven telescopes in the Karoo near the town of Carnarvon in the Northern Cape province as a precursor to the MeerKAT (Karoo Array Telescope) which will consist of 64 dishes.

Pandor sent a determined tone for South Africa's bid to host the instrument and several independent scientific reviews of the site, technology and design have praised the team for the work that has been done so far.

Decision

"We have a range of work that we're doing; we spoke about some of the plans: The MeerKAT we've already advertised, the VLBI is a long-term astronomy infrastructure initiative, we've spoken to that, but I don't want us to mince our words or to send mixed messages: The iconic target for us is the SKA," Pandor said.

The board of the SKA is scheduled to meet on April 4 where it is expected that a decision might be made on the site for the SKA.

Some have said that political considerations may delay the process over several months as SKA member nations deliberate recommendations from the review panel.

Pandor was bullish about the process, saying that SA had received significant support from the AU and the European Parliament which recently adopted declaration 45 which aimed to develop and strengthen radio astronomy partnerships between Europe and Africa.

"But we mustn't give them too long a rope. We as ministers want a decision. It's very nice to have meetings all over the world, but we actually want to know what we should plan for.

"So the South African team will make it clear that we want a decision," Pandor said.

Strategic relationships

Pandor rejected suggestions that the SKA be shared between SA and Australia.

"I've indicated that I agree with the Australian minister that a joint site is not a good option at all. It's one of the few things we agree on."

The Australian media has hinted that placing the SKA in Africa was not a good idea because of political instability on the continent, but the review panel has analysed all factors for the site in their terms of reference.

SA has also signed strategic relationships with a variety of companies like Microsoft, Nokia and Intel to partner in the development of technology for the SKA.

"We believe we're ready; our site is a better site. We've believe we've got the astronomers, the engineers, the technology, the world's support. We think we'd be a brilliant choice," Pandor said.


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Comments
  • wesley.bischoff - 2012-03-29 15:54

    I agree. SA is the best choice :-)

      gillian.sabino1 - 2012-03-29 22:19

      What Pandor means is the criminals in the SA government are ready with bribery and corruption schemes to milk the budget of the SKA, just like the Arms Deal and the Soccer World Cup. Publish the Soccer World Cup accounts!

      FreeSpeech - 2012-05-25 14:51

      Are you talking about black south africa or white south africa?

  • Ben - 2012-03-29 16:00

    Go South Africa Go! Is it too much to hope for that proper governance and control over the project will prevent tenderpreneurs and friends / family members of politicians from getting rich on this project?

      Jacques - 2012-03-29 17:08

      Methinks the building of the SKA will have enough foreign influence and monitoring to prevent that from happening... Intel and Microsoft being in the loop, wow!

      Glyn - 2012-03-29 18:47

      Cannot happen! This is one project that the anc cannot control!

      Pixie86 - 2012-03-29 19:07

      glyn, i suppose you're one of those people who blame the anc even for the smell of your poop! Just get off it and enjoy the small victories this country has!

  • Dhavandran - 2012-03-29 16:17

    and how many houses could have been built with the billions that will be spent on trying to hear the voice from outer space?how will that voice enhance alleviation of poverty ,poor infrastructure,failing health care system and education?let us get our ducks in a row , sort out the problems that plague us and once we have achieved 100% literacy and world class public health care facilities then we can play with big toys to try and hear that one voice from outer space.

      Ben - 2012-03-29 16:45

      Dude. Read more about things before you rant. It's money we never had to start with.

      Pixie86 - 2012-03-29 16:46

      oh get off! Life and development can't stop because of poverty! There will always be poverty! It's there in first world countries, but it doesn't mean the country should not grow!

      Glyn - 2012-03-29 18:54

      @ Dhavandran - You set your sights low!

      Glyn - 2012-03-29 18:55

      People should only have as many children as they can afford. How many do you have?

      Pixie86 - 2012-03-29 19:04

      oh glyn, yet again you're completely off topic!

      Peter - 2012-04-02 10:54

      we are the big boys ...

  • Ben - 2012-03-29 16:32

    Woohoo!! Do it!

  • Morne - 2012-03-29 16:48

    Come on give it to SA!!

  • Pixie86 - 2012-03-29 16:50

    those who are going to take this opportunity and start complaining about how we should concentrate on poverty and jobs! Whatever! This is a great opportunity for our country! Poverty and unemployment are found in first world countries and that did not stop those countries from developing! SA deserves this! Party poopers!

  • Glyn - 2012-03-29 18:45

    South Africa needs the SKA. It will force the anc government and their successors to deliver an item of excellence! There will be no excuses! Zuma et al can bleat till the cows come home but they will have to deliver! And WE CAN DO IT!! Viva South Africa!

      Pixie86 - 2012-03-29 18:59

      there you go! Dragging irrelevant people and political parties into an irrelevant topic! Just celebrate a small victory!

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-30 09:56

    North Australia with is strategically placed aquifers still remains the best choice. As stated South Africa is still to much of an unknown politically, and the ANC's current attempts to muzzle its citizens and ride rough shod over the constitution make it politically and strategically unsuitable for any project requiring long term stability.

  • revaro.winkler - 2012-03-30 14:50

    all american companies so let australia take it is going to australia anyway they have better relations whit america

  • Peter - 2012-04-02 10:14

    Lobbing for SKA to host 3000 radio telescopes in the Northern Cape should be given the same effort,enthusiasm & commitment like the 2010 soccer World Cup from corporates, government and every one concern.Spin-offs like job & foreign investment opportunities for the country and the region is massive.This will help create a critical mass on the importance of Mathematics & Science amongst our youth. They should be encourage to follow careers in the science & technology industries.The My Future high school magazine's core focus has always been to steer learners into maths,science & accounting careers.Thats where the moneyand opportunities is and the key to unlock the wealth Door for our poor communities. We urge the goverment and top corporates to support the magazine & the bid to host SKA.Lets create a culture to teach our next generation the square root of maths & science and remove the fear and stigma these subjects is only for the nerds or boffins at school.I would like 1 million likes to support the SKA BID in Northern Cape,South Africa

  • Peter - 2012-04-02 10:16

    Lobbing for SKA to host 3000 radio telescopes in the Northern Cape should be given the same effort,enthusiasm & commitment like the 2010 soccer World Cup from corporates, government and every one concern.Spin-offs like job & foreign investment opportunities for the country and the region is massive.This will help create a critical mass on the importance of Mathematics & Science amongst our youth. They should be encourage to follow careers in the science & technology industries.The My Future high school magazine's core focus has always been to steer learners into maths,science & accounting careers.Thats where the moneyand opportunities is and the key to unlock the wealth Door for our poor communities. We urge the goverment and top corporates to support the magazine & the bid to host SKA.Lets create a culture to teach our next generation the square root of maths & science and remove the fear and stigma these subjects is only for the nerds or boffins at school.I would like 1 million likes to support the SKA BID in Northern Cape,South Africa.Visi our website to support the bid.WWW.MYFUTUREMAGAZINE.CO.ZA

  • carike.staden - 2012-05-07 13:48

    Cool!

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