SA to host majority of SKA project

2012-05-25 16:20

Johannesburg - Two thirds of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) antennae technologies will be built in Africa, said Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor at a press conference on Friday.

Two thirds of antennae technologies will be built in Africa and a third in Australia and New Zealand, she said.

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.

"We should be proud!"

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 Meekathara 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, Womersley added.

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."

  • anthonyangiev - 2012-05-25 16:28

    WELL DONE SOUTH AFRICA! Just hope it doesn't get stolen or vandalized!! LOL!

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-25 16:54

      hehehehehhehe, Agreed. The Aussie Genes dictate many a Recidivist in the general Population.

  • Pagel - 2012-05-25 16:29

    Go SA!! More detail at this link -

      Press - 2012-05-25 18:07

      It says there South Africans will all have to buy new radio-telescope licences so that the country can enjoy the benefits of this new project.

  • Rob - 2012-05-25 16:34

    Very good news. But really, why the sour grapes comment from Prof Jonas? SA should be grateful to be getting anything considering the state of the nation.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-25 16:52

      The World seems to be fine with handing Two thirds of the contract to Us. Even when celebrations are due the sentiment remains negative. I really pity the Lives of any Detractor, having to live this way. What a waste as We are so fortunate and Liberated currently.

      Press - 2012-05-25 17:27

      Yeah - and I really pity anyone who thinks two thirds is good enough . . .

      Rob - 2012-05-25 20:12

      Sheep! Deal positively with reality, it will prepare you for life's hard knocks and reward you when credit is due. Now read my point about sour grapes and think victim mentality!

      SaleƩ - 2012-05-26 00:53

      @Tamaranui - worry not about heart-attack candidates who couldn't smile to a toddler at the corner store...

  • Tamaranui - 2012-05-25 16:34

    Seems the World knows best, We are the Future. Congrats RSA

      Gerhard - 2012-05-25 16:41

      So now we are welcoming investment from the West again? What happened since two days agao when Mantashe said we don't need the West? I am confused.....

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-25 16:45

      We didn't beg...We offered and the World knows where the Best deal lies. That's just Capitalism..... The West needs us more than we need them, That has not altered.

      Antin - 2012-05-26 10:08

      Tamaranui, I share much of your positive sentiments, but before you forget: our geographical location also had a teeny bit to do with it, ne!

  • vokweet - 2012-05-25 16:38

    Wonderful! But please we're building radio dishes not breeding cockroaches; Antenna (pl. antennas in radio/TV, antennae in biology)

      Press - 2012-05-25 17:29

      Just as long you dont build it out of copper . . .

      Sw - 2012-05-25 21:36

      @press - then its prone to overnight corrosion.

  • Bryan - 2012-05-25 16:40

    There we have it. Well at least most of it according to this report. I can only hope that between now and the construction phase this country doesn't find ways to screw it up. A lot can and invariably will happen in this country between now and 2016. Only a stable SA and even more so, our government, will convince the investors that their decision was correct in awarding this (in part)to SA. We can still lose this project in the near term so watch this space. In the mean time, congrats to the bid team and a big thanks to the 5 voting countries.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-25 16:47

      Ahhh...We sense Negativity here.....Is this not a common thread on this site ??? Only a matter of time before the Ol' Rhetoric returns.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-25 16:48

      This sentiment was rife in 1994 as well and 18 years later........

      Bryan - 2012-05-25 17:44

      No negativity Tamaranui, just being careful in these very unpredictable times. Crime/corruption in SA are the main reasons why we didn't get it all. You won't have to wait long to see who has put his fingers in the "cookie jar".

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-25 17:47

      Cmon Dude, Lighten up

      Antin - 2012-05-26 10:16

      @ Tamaranui, "This sentiment was rife in 1994 as well and 18 years later.." There you go, spoil a nice positive, realistic start, with your usual crap. By and large the pessimists in 1994 WERE right. (The only good thing is that we avoided civil war -which was wrapped up then anyway.) And if you don't see that, well mate you are blind and I won't waste time on trying to make you see. ](In case you do want to find out for yourself, a few hints: SA is de-industrializing, growth is nowhere great enough, real unemployment rising, shrinking relative tax-base, tik-tok...)

  • Paulus - 2012-05-25 16:43

    Another fascinating link that explains some of the massive demands this project has:

  • Darren Cooper - 2012-05-25 16:44

    Congrats and what an opportunity for SA

  • Vusi - 2012-05-25 16:49

    well done to the DST and NRF respectively. for a third world country to be involved in such a huge project this is truly a success, probably the biggest success of the Zuma Administration.

      Freddie - 2012-05-25 16:58

      We didn't get it because of Zuma, we got it despite Zuma.

      Vusi - 2012-05-25 17:12

      who said we got it because of Zuma? you saw Zuma in my statement and decided to make a negative comment? get a life #smh# selective reading

      Bryan - 2012-05-25 17:53

      The Zuma administration had nothing to do with it. Instead it is them that prevented us from winning it outright. Zuma/ANC can screw it up tho as we have seen this week.

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-25 18:42

      The Zuma admin had everything to do with it via Minister Naledi Pandor,lets give credit where it is due guys,together we can,kamoka re tla kgona

      Antin - 2012-05-26 10:21

      True, we got it "under" Zoomer. No thanks to him, but we got it anyway. No-one can take that away. But I have to ask, why mention this odious man in the context anyway? As a rule there's nothing wrong with taking the good with the bad. But if there's WAY too much bad -one should be careful associating any good with the bad. Tends to taint it.

  • Freddie - 2012-05-25 16:56

    So is it now the S10kKA?

  • QuantumDM - 2012-05-25 17:03

    This is such great news in a bleak winter's Friday in Cape Town! Well done to the people involved! They did SA proud!

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-25 18:44

      Department of Science and Technology ,National Research Fund and SKA project team,all gov affiliated,my anc my future

  • Rodney - 2012-05-25 17:15

    Kewl Good news for a change !!!! Congrats

      Bruce - 2012-05-25 17:27

      Indeed, after a week where the government is only concerned with their "dignity" and a painting!

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-25 17:47

      Thank Murray for that.......

      Press - 2012-05-25 18:01

      Yeah - like taking candy from a kid . . .

  • Just_my_opinion - 2012-05-25 17:56

    As Australia and SA are almost on opposite sides of the world, that means they can focus on a much greater area all at once. Great idea to split it to both SA and Australia!

      Antin - 2012-05-26 10:31

      There he goes again! Warning, before he dupes more gullible souls, Just_writin-crap is talking twak (again). He has NO clue and sucks his own nonsense out of his thumb. The two sets of dishes in SA will cover two sets of the higher frequencies, the array in Oz will cover the lower one. They are operating completely separately. And even if it were the same frequency, in both locations, Just-talkin-twak would still make no sense. Focus, smokus

      Antin - 2012-05-26 11:22

      LOL Just_my_opinion, thumbs down. I said anything wrong?

  • George - 2012-05-25 18:48

    As powerful as the SKA is it will not be able to penetrate the treacherous and deceitful heart of the cANCerous society ruling this land. One can already see the headlines, "SKA scientist killed while manning the telescope, cell phone stolen" It will be surprising to see any overseas scientists willing to work here.

      Pagel - 2012-05-25 21:19

      Really - the days that an astronomer needs to sit at the telescope is long gone. You can operate the telescope and access your data from anywhere.

  • paul.mostert.5 - 2012-05-25 19:39

    No wonder we do not get 100%. Minister Pandor said on TV: SA will get three quarters! It is infact 2/3. When minister Pandor, is 2/3 equal to three quarters? If the Science and Technology minister makes this kind of statement - no wonder we do not get 100% of the project.

      Mpho - 2012-05-25 20:58

      Lol, This is probably the most accurate truth behind the 2/3 instead of 3/3

      Pagel - 2012-05-25 21:22

      In terms of cost, science and technology we are getting more than 2/3 - the aperture arrays the Aussies get is the simplest part.

      Antin - 2012-05-26 10:34

      Well, getting this IS a good thing. But TRUE, if our minister of science makes a primary-school gaffe like this -one better understands why the dismal state of education in SA.

  • andrew.martin.3766 - 2012-05-26 00:52

    Hey it's tender time!

  • dion.loubser - 2012-05-26 04:38

    The SKA team SA did an excellent job. Remember the scientific panel chose South Africa as the best this is a political compromise. It is a win for South Africa,,,and very exciting. Perhaps with the split site now, we will cover more area and gather even more data. At the end of the day, this about the world, and space. Let's face it, if we discover other worlds and life forms, petty country disputes here on earth are going to pale into insignificance! Which can only be good.

  • Deon - 2012-05-26 08:34

    Wonder why she did not use the RACE CARD at the end. It seems to work in South Africa everytime it does not go their way. Imagine, if it work we could have 100% in South Africa and all that millions of Euro to spent on BEE companies for the maintenance of it.

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-26 12:48

      bought your sour grapes from woolies?

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