SKA decision imminent

2012-05-24 15:00

Cape Town - The government is expecting the final decision from the SKA Organisation on the country to host the massive science project.

The department of science and technology is expecting that the international organisation will make an announcement on whether SA or Australia will win the right to host the project which aims to link over 3 000 radio telescopes and allow astronomers to look 12 billion years back in time.

The organisation will have a meeting on Friday, after which an announcement is expected.

"It is expected that an announcement regarding the preferred site for hosting the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) may be made on Friday 25 May 2012, by the Office of the SKA Organisation, following an SKA Members' General Meeting, to be held at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands," the department told News24.

SA is pushing hard to host the SKA or Square Kilometre Array telescope in the Northern Cape province and has already built the KAT 7 (Karoo Array Telescope) consisting of seven radio telescopes as a test bed for the technology.

Strategic relationships

The government is determined to host the massive project, estimated to cost around €1.5bn, and the ministry has been lobbying key players to ensure that the bid goes to SA.

"We believe that our team has really put in an excellent effort. We think we have an excellent site; we think we have scientists in the country and we believe good research, which will give us those answers we're looking for, can be done on the African continent," minister of science and technology Naledi Pandor told News24 recently.

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.

John Womersley, head of the SKA's board of directors, indicated in April that the organisation was considering the idea of a split decision for the project.

"We are seeing if there are ways in which one could install SKA infrastructure in both Australia and South Africa that would make sense scientifically," Womersley said.

A decision was expected on 4 April, but it was delayed following a working group that was set up to investigate a wide variety of options to extract the most benefit from the investment into the SKA.

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.

The decision is expected at around 15:30, South African time.

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  • almeleh - 2012-05-24 15:27

    Would you give it to a country ruled by the "Spear"?

      anne.crewe - 2012-05-24 15:38

      I don't think you should believe 'the Spier' when he says he and the ANC will rule until J*sus comes.

      Press - 2012-05-24 17:09

      Or do you think we will get this after Gwede Mantashe told the west where to stick their stuff . . .

      Morgaen - 2012-05-24 18:32

      Zuma gives new meaning to the term "Poynting Vector"

  • anne.crewe - 2012-05-24 15:36

    Good luck hope it comes to SA, our scientists will do a great job. Waiting anxiously.

  • revaro.winkler - 2012-05-24 15:41

    let us pray

  • Ted - 2012-05-24 16:02

    I like the money part. The 12 bill years part doesn't excite at all. Just 20 years in the past is painful enough in South Africa.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-24 16:17

    I am right behind South Africa on this bid, I hope we got it.

  • revaro.winkler - 2012-05-24 16:30

    we gonna get it you know how it is in sa if the ausies get it we gonna enquire on the reasons thats why we the best

      Press - 2012-05-25 01:19

      Just as long as Bryce Lawrence isin't deciding this matter . . .

  • Gerhard - 2012-05-24 16:40

    Let's hope we get it. Then we can put all of that excess metal on the Gauteng highways to good use. I am sure us Gautengers will be more than willing to assist with the dismantling of those gantries, free of charge, mahala!!

  • rowen.loretz - 2012-05-24 20:52

    With all the nonsense happening over the last week i doubt it!

  • MaxsonN - 2012-05-24 23:05

    Can't wait..

  • aristar.aristary - 2012-05-25 02:58

    The only thing holding the Europeans back is this countries idiot government. The Oztralians are using much more expensive equipment and our bid is lower but knowing this country and its corruption the Europeans might have to pay the excess on bribes. I hope we get it .

  • QuantumDM - 2012-05-25 09:24

    South Africa all the way!! I am very excited and sure hope we get it! What an opportunity!

  • Bryan - 2012-05-25 09:56

    As much as I hate to say it, I cannot see SA winning this bid. Our bidding team has done an excellent job and my hats off to them for their effort. A politically enept and corrupt factional government in this country and a "third world" continent which is Africa are the driving factors that will loose us this bid. Indeed we do have the best site for the SKA but it is far more that at stake here for the investors. Our region is sufficiently unstable to the investors with the likes of Mugabe and Zuma and others for that matter. This is AFRICA which for decades has been cast aside by western governments and investors as insecure and irrelevant and a continent where "handouts" are the order of business. Had the DA been in power at this time, it would be a very different matter. So much so that Australia would would probably not even bothered to put in a bid. I would love to see us win this. I just can't see the decision favouring us based on current situation and trends. We can only hope.

  • Lawrence - 2012-05-25 10:55

    Please do not spoil the tranquility of our Khoisan land!

  • QuantumDM - 2012-05-25 11:16

    Tick Tock Tick Tock

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