SKA decision delayed
Cape Town – The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation delayed the announcement of the decision on the proposed site for the SKA on Wednesday.
Members of the SKA Organisation agreed to set up a small scientific working group to explore possible implementation options that would maximise the value from the investments made by both candidate host regions.
The members wished to move ahead with the site selection process, and recognised that it is desirable to maintain an inclusive approach to SKA, the organisation said in a statement.
This working group will report back to the organisation at a meeting in mid-May, which will provide additional information to facilitate the decision.
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said: "I am disappointed at the delay. I hope that the SKA organisation will make a decision in the first half of 2012 and that the decision will reflect the best scientific outcome.”
South Africa is leading Africa's bid to host the SKA radio telescope. Australia is leading an Australian/New Zealand bid.
The SKA will consist of about 3 000 dish-shaped antennae spread over a wide area.
If Africa wins the SKA bid, the core of the telescope will be constructed in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, with outlying telescope stations throughout South Africa, and in Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar and Mauritius.
Pandor said: "We believe we have an excellent site at which exciting science will be done, we, in Africa, are ready to host the SKA”.