Key scientists favour SA to host SKA - report

2012-03-09 18:10

Cape Town - South Africa's chances of hosting the world's largest space telescope received a massive boost after a key scientific panel recommended it be awarded the €1.5bn project, a report said on Friday.

The Square Kilometre Array will allow astronomers to see billions of years back in time with the telescopes using the science of radio interferometry, where several telescopes observe a single body and the data is combined to give a more accurate picture.

A group of 20 countries will share the financial burden and the results of what is dubbed ''the experiment of the century'', Australian newspaper The Canberra Times reported.

The SKA site advisory committee made a confidential report last month judging the South African-led bid was stronger than a joint bid by Australia and New Zealand.

The option to spread the array across eight nations in southern Africa was judged the better bid in part due to lower costs to power the telescope and transfer the massive amounts of data, the newspaper said.

The final decision now rests with a vote of four countries - China, Italy, Britain and Holland - represented on the board of directors for the project, and is expected on April 4. 

  • Piet - 2012-03-09 18:17

    Cant help to wonder how many cadres are involved in this......

      Spyker - 2012-03-09 18:35

      More serious Piet, is the fact that it will move SA one step closer to be a puppet state of China..,

      Piet - 2012-03-09 18:39

      previously it was a white baas, now a chinese one.....

      Morama - 2012-03-09 18:43

      ANC is corrupt but can we just appreciate the little bit we get out the succesfull bids like this?Look how many jobs were created in Eskom's new power stations? But we all know Hitachi,which is the main contractor which won tenders to build this stations has got some shares that belongs to ANC in it?

      Nkululeko - 2012-03-09 19:01

      @ Spyker I think you lack some crucial information dude. do you know how many south african businesses that are in China? I think you dont hey!. for info, SA is in the same group with China (BRICKS) thats why we have gud relationship with them.

      Spyker - 2012-03-09 19:57

      Dear G0d, I had nooooo idea we were this deep in the soft-and-smelly... We are part of [quote] BRICKS [unquote] ... I am stupefied; and I was convinced that our biggest problem was the fact that we have subsequently become part of the PRICKS - Perpetually Raping Insolent Corrupt Killing States. The economic union is BRIC. An internationally recognised union of the leading economic-developing countries. "BRICS" as a "economic union" is a figment of the imaginations of Chinese Totalitarian government and the fascist ANC regime. It is such a laughable hallucination, even key investors in the BRIC grouping are refusing to invest in SA - most notably, the leading global financial press (eg The Economist) do not even use the term "BRICS", it has simply ignored the entire inanity and continued to reference BRIC. NOTE: The acronym 'BRIC' (Brazil, Russia, India, China) was coined by Jim O'Neill in a 2001 paper entitled "Building Better Global Economic BRICs". O'Neill is British and the Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management - again confirming that such entities do not even have its origins in the East - it comes from the de facto cognitive-axis of the universe (USA-UK-OLD_EUROPE). "BRICS" can at best be described as a 'political' union, of largely overpopulated countries, with a population of economically under-performing individuals - viz it has little economic merit.

      Psalm - 2012-03-09 20:22

      @ Spyker May, Why, oh, why do you even bother to comment? It seems like you suffer from a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease. Here are some latest reports on BRICS - not the silly stuff you wrote: 1. Bloomberg has reported that "Leaders from the world’s biggest emerging markets will ask their finance ministers to study a proposal for a bank funded exclusively by their nations at a summit in March". Go read up further on this BRICS idea at; 2. Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's 6th largest economy. Admittedly, its per capita income is significantly lower than the UKs - still, this is no small issue. 3. China could overtake the US by 2027. However, the IMF holds the view that this might happen quite a lot sooner... No one cares who coined the term BRIC - now BRICS. It is irrelevant. What is relevant is what BRICS represents in the global economy. Furthermore, BRICS is not concerned about political systems and it is not a 'political union' (like you claim) - China is not a democracy and this very week, it informed the West (again) that it has no intention of trying democracy and western capitalism. Brazil is a democracy - yet partners with China.

      Spyker - 2012-03-10 16:24

      @Pslam: I REST MY CASE. From your 1st (Bloomberg) ref – quote from the article: “...Leaders from the SO-CALLED BRICS group...” – “” is hardly a statement of overt conviction. I suggest you get somebody to translate the rest of the article for you (preferably not one ‘previously disadvantaged’) – you may then grasp that it is simply a ‘report’ on a meeting between members of BRICS themselves. Your 2nd ref is irrelevant to the issue at hand – if anything, it simply supports what I have stated before. Your 3rd reference is equally irrelevant. BRICS is just a political union – look it up if you dare. BTW: The GDP/capita of South Africa is 60% (not 6%.., 60%) greater.., yes GREATER than that of China. The USA is almost TEN TIMES (not 10%, ten times) greater than China. Switzerland more than SIXTEEN times- and Norway more than EIGHTEEN (18) times greater than China. This despite the fact that the Chinese regime is artificially keeping their currency under-valued – iow they are sitting on an inflation time-bomb. China is a slave state. China is an economic farce. I beg you to do everything you can to make SA a puppet state of China – you will long back to the good old days under Apartheid... No one is as blind as the one that does not want to see.

      Psalm - 2012-03-10 17:21

      @ Spyker May, A point of information here, when the phrase "so-called" is used in an article (at least published in a credible publication), it is NOT a disparaging remark. It means: "as it is so called". BRICS is "so-called" by economists, etc. The context of the article supports this view. Please get enlightened. Also, let me inform you, when the IMF speaks of China overtaking the USA - I think they have A LOT more accurate information and projections than you do. What do you think?

      Spyker - 2012-03-10 17:33

      Absolutely Psalm and the moon is actually a big piece of cheesecake inhabited by three-legged witches...

  • Mzwandile - 2012-03-09 18:29

    This is not a good article to start a weekend to all the unpatriotic South African campaigners who trying for hard to discredit this country internationally. I am more than convinced that many South African are proud and patriotic men and women that are doing everything to work with everyone including government to build this country. My advise to peace loving country men please take care of yourselfs this weekend if possible enjoy it indoors because these unpatriotic men and women will vent their anger made by this article you. Good show of confidence to South Africa and its people by the world.

      Steve - 2012-03-09 18:31

      There are non so blind as those who cannot see

      Cracker - 2012-03-09 18:39

      @ Mzwandile Don't be childish.

      Nkululeko - 2012-03-09 18:50

      The thing with people is that, when South African is facing challenges, they complain which is completely acceptable. However, when good things are happening to South Africa they try with all their power to discredit that.Sometimes you just never know what they want!!. South Africa can really do with ordinary citizens who are willing to take this country forward, whether you in the government or not. people should stop complaining, they should be bringing solutions really. ( people with no solutions, always complain)

      Vegi - 2012-03-09 18:53

      Spyker May You can go to Australia if you want. We don't even want you here. But don't suggest that things that are rightfully ours go to that non country, Australia.

      Vegi - 2012-03-09 18:55

      Crackerr You hate South Africa. You harbour ill feelings towards this great country. Don't pretend that you are not longing for the good old days.

      bfvillet - 2012-03-09 19:00

      Mzwandile they are not south african i am sick and tired of these people who do everything in their power to discredit and complain about what is happening in south africa. After 20 years of a multi party non racial democracy we are still here and believe it or not are being taken seriously by the international world.Become part of South Africa or do us all a favour and leave and see if you will be able to enjoy the wonderfull life you are living in South Africa right now.That fire you are standing at in the big garden with a beer in your hand is not as easily achievable elswhere as it is in South so maybe it is time to say thank you and embrace your fellow south africans whose skin colour is darker than yours

      Cracker - 2012-03-09 19:13

      @ Vegi Luckily it is free to become part of the childish movement.

      Cracker - 2012-03-09 19:14

      @ Vegi You are an honorable member?

  • Vegi - 2012-03-09 18:47

    South Africa is a secure venue for this SKA project. The country is in good hands politically, has sound financial footing as well as limitless resources to give the necessary ongoing support to the project. This project cannot go to Australia and New Zealand for obvious reasons. These two are not sovereign states like South Africa. They lack both clout and resources and are better ignored by the rest of the world except refugees who are running away from democracy in South Africa.

      Piet - 2012-03-09 18:58

      nice bid, i still would like to knowhow many range rovers did we sponsor for the world cup construction......

      Piet - 2012-03-09 18:59

      and for the running away part, they where used to first world services....

      J.D. - 2012-03-09 19:14

      Hey Veg luckily the SKA will be located in the Karoo, so some cadres will not be tempted to steal the cables like with what happened with the Gautrain, or did you forget "comrade".

      Cracker - 2012-03-09 20:19

      Childishness like a pimple tends to grow. Luckily it is evident to all with normal sight.

      Cracker - 2012-03-09 20:33

      @ Vegi You may be a big shot in the childish movement. But listen to this. Political stability does play a large role. Publicly acknowledged or not. It does not include your "our" as opposed to others that your childish mind tries to project here. The assurances of political stability were obviously given and taken note of. Why are you then even commenting here as if huge (in your little brain) changes are coming? No, your hero Mugabe will not get his way in this country.

      William - 2012-03-10 06:22

      Australia , New Zealand not sovereign states? You are showing your intelligence( lack of ) by making such stupid comments.Perhaps South Africans choosing to emigrate to Australia do so because they want they want a future for their families in a advanced economy that Australia(low unemployment/low crime/low corruption) offers. A few facts : GDP - AUSTRALIA = world's 13th largest economy USD $1.2 Trillion /world's 5th highest per capita income (USD $66,984). GDP - SOUTH AFRICA = world's 29th largest economy USD $364 Billion / World's 72nd highest per capita income (USD $8,342). Facts from International Monetary Fund(2011 estimate).

      Stevo - 2012-03-11 16:11

      "Rightfully Yours"?? What breathtaking Arrogance! Don't let that swelled head stop you getting outside and seeing the real world once in a while. As for *cough* rightfully yours *cough*, let's just wait till that fat lady sings eh? Then we'll see. And enjoy footing the bill for the darned thing when Aussies vote out anyone in govt. who authorises paying for this third world aid black hole dressed up in Science's labcoat.

  • Sinudeity - 2012-03-09 19:22


  • Leon - 2012-03-09 19:35

    South Africa is still the best country to build the project. We have no earthquakes and no floods in the Northern Cape. Aussie terrotory is shaken regularly and flooded very often. You don't want your telescope to be shaken when you are trying to look back millions of years , do you?

      Lehlohonolo - 2012-03-10 09:57

      Good Leon some people add politics where it is not relevant.I totally agree with your post.

      Stevo - 2012-03-11 16:01

      Flooded Leon? Check your geography, Murchison Shire is desert. Earthquakes? in NZ maybe. Australia, Largely none. If this is the average intelligence and education level in the South Africa to build this array, I give it five years before the Euroweenies and China come cap in hand to beg Australia to build it. Please, we don't mind losing something like this when it's simply coloniser/colonised guilt politics getting you something but for the great pumpkins sake Don't go flaunting about like you know everything. Simply put you haven't Really earned it.

  • Lynda - 2012-03-09 19:35

    Wow good news at last!

      Mzwandile - 2012-03-09 19:52

      @ Lynda - there has been many good news but unfortunately the unpatriotic campaigner have been trying so hard to ensure that they don't overshadow their campaign. Just be positive for once you will see for yourself.

  • Dakey - 2012-03-09 19:37

    I think this is incredible for the country. Stunning stuff, well done guys.

  • Sinudeity - 2012-03-09 19:40

    This isnt a political issue (like most of you are trying to turn it into), this is a scientific issue. So please, can the apartheid relics, and the ANC sheep STFU.

      zaatheist - 2012-03-10 05:52

      Yes. Why do these retards have to turn this in to a racial issue? Its about science and discovery and it is exciting. This would be a big gain for the country and make me feel proud to be a South African.

      Piet - 2012-03-10 07:11

      guess who is going to be in the tender processes once it is approved? you are naive to think the connected elite will let this pass....

      Sinudeity - 2012-03-10 09:46

      Piet - The project is funded, and will be monitored by investors from quite a few countries. A bunch of nerds will be the oversight committee :P

      TSR01 - 2012-03-10 10:43

      Well said, Sinudeity, the article stated it clearly - foreign countries will be the investors. :)

  • Nectarios - 2012-03-09 19:44

    I am sure the Current Government are now all rubbing and rubbing their hands for this lump sum. Boy, what things they could buy.... An extra Jet??.... Maybe a trip to the iss space station?? One can only imagine, but not impossible for this Government. The money will go there where it is not supposed to go, and this money is just for the SKA - LOL

      MegaTesla - 2012-03-09 20:19

      The government is actually doing it right at the moment. Look at KAT-7 and the upcoming MeerKAT and its funding. Rest asured, the way the SKA operates will make it near impossible for the SA government to pull any corruption stunts.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-03-09 19:59

    Hope South Africa wins! Only concern is with Royall Dutch Shell(60% Dutch, 40% British) wanting to frack the Karoo, how will the Netherlands and the UK vote?

      Mzwandile - 2012-03-09 20:24

      @Adil - I know fracking is not at issue here, but now that you mentioned it, if you allow me to pick you brains. You know my greatgrand parents are coming from that part of the world. There are many people and groups that are against this project including KAG. I have been provided a file by a new group that are support of the project,anyway they require funding. A hindsight I think the project is a good one, can provide local job opportunities, can have impact in local economic development and all other socio economic spinoff. I believe Shell said for exploring shale gas they will use safe techniques that are not harmful to invironment. What is therefore the main fuss against this project?

      MegaTesla - 2012-03-09 20:42

      Main fuss is radio frequency interference from all the machinery.

  • IrvinIco - 2012-03-09 20:06

    China`s influence in this regard will work in our favour, especially as our trading partner and a co- member in BRICS. This, must however not be used by China to skew business in their favour.

  • Cracker - 2012-03-09 21:09

    IF South Africa loses the bid, just be honest and tell us honestly why. Don't come with diplomatic BS.

  • Donald.P.Muller - 2012-03-09 21:58

    This is really great and exciting news, I'm holding thumbs. Not long to go.

  • j.c.s.mailbox - 2012-03-09 22:24

    In terms of getting a clear viable space looking area S.A. will be the recommended place....but however and alas! The security risk is obviously too large to implement this well planned program. The replacement of stolen equipment, commodities and infra structure will be a regrettable exercise uncomparred and beyond anything else....

      Mark - 2012-03-10 13:05

      Stolen equipment? Interesting... I didn't realise there was a second hand market for two storey high satellite dishes, proprietary correlators and nitrogen-cooled Cray supercomputers. Respect also to the thieves that are willing to tackle the 100km dirt road between the site and nearest town, and the +/-5 hour drive from there to the nearest decent scrapyard

  • Lucky Manaswe - 2012-03-09 22:30

    U know most of the time we get bad news here and we complain accuse each other etc but now that we get good news I wonder why some people commenting here are so negative, I just hope they are foreigners not south africans because if they are then is such a shame. I remember when we were given the rights to host the world cup, people were negative even some countries were negative but we hosted an almost perfect tournament. South Africans we are not perfect no one is, let us not be against our country. I believe we are one of the few lucky countries that are free of terrorism, dictatorship, natural disasters, crazy constitutions etc we just have to work on crime and unemployment issues and I tell u we will be the envy of the whole world.

      zaatheist - 2012-03-10 05:54

      Well stated!

      Piet - 2012-03-10 07:13

      we are realists....

      Lucky Manaswe - 2012-03-10 08:26

      @Piet you are realists that's why the world cup failed like you have predicted. \r\nI just hope this negative behavior towards anything good happening to us doesn't have anything to do with who governs.

      Spyker - 2012-03-10 14:06

      Lucky Manaswe, You may be called "Lucky", but you are in fact clueless... The SWC was only a success if you listen to the ANC regime's propaganda - just like the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games was a "success" if you listened to the Nazi regime. SA national soccer team was the greatest disaster in the entire history of the SWC. It is the 1st time in the history of the world that the host-team fell out in the 1st round - this is an embarrassment beyond words. The reason: because the fascist black nationalist regime (the ANC) insisted that it MUST be an exclusively non-white team. The rest of the SWC was simply managed from Europe and by Europeans. It was just a satellite European SWC held in Africa - an inconvenient fact. Anybody with half-a-braincell will understand that geographically and as such 'meteorologically' a peninsula-shaped country like SA is naturally vulnerable to natural disasters. Only people who cannot grasp it (like those who 200 years ago did not even grasp what a horizon is - never mind that something existed beyond it) will think SA are free of natural disasters. SA may be experiencing a lull at the moment, but the west of the country is on a faultline, the east of the country has a high cyclone probability and the interior is at the risk of tornado's. With the change in global weather you will find an increase in such events - eg the recent tornado in the Free State and the cyclone off the eastern coast of SA. SUGGESTION: Stop eating the ANC propaganda.

  • lydonmcg - 2012-03-10 10:01

    The fact that free-thinking adults could actually believe some of their own drivel they've posted here, is quite worrying. One would think that many would celebrate the good news, considering they're so quick to complain about how the country is going to the dogs. But alas. Apparently they enjoy living lives that are hateful. Heaven forbid something actually improve in SA.

  • Johan - 2012-03-10 13:23

    This would be great for SA but the SH1T politics here will f... it up as everything else

  • marz.smith - 2012-03-10 15:18

    Southern Africa is fast becoming a hub of activities in the field of astronomy and related technologies. Winning the SKA bid will be a major step forward for the government's Astronomy Geographical Advantage Programme (AGAP). Other major astronomy players in the region include the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in the Karoo, and the HESS gamma ray telescope in Namibia. South Africa's Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act (2007) declares the entire Northern Cape Province, with the exception of the Sol Plaatje Municipality (Kimberley) as an astronomy advantage area. Within that an area of 12.5 million hectares is the main protected area - or radio astronomy reserve - for the SKA. This area is also referred to as the Karoo Central Astronomy Advantage Area. Other benefits of the proposed SKA South Africa site include: Low levels of radio frequency interference and certainty of future radio quiet zone Very little light pollution Basic infrastructure of roads, electricity and communication in place Ideal geographical location, sky coverage and topography Safe and stable area with very few people and no conflicting economic activities Required land, labour and services available and very affordable Excellent academic infrastructure to support SKA science and technology The astronomical "richness" of the southern skies & strong tradition of astronomy

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