South Africa confident on super-telescope bid ahead of talks

March 29, 2012
An artist impression released by the SPDO show dishes of the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope by night. South African science minister Naledi Pandor said Thursday she remains confident on her country's bid to host the world's most powerful radio telescope, ahead of a crucial meeting next week.

South African science minister Naledi Pandor said Thursday she remains confident on her country's bid to host the world's most powerful radio telescope, ahead of a crucial meeting next week.

Scientists hope the , or SKA, will shed new light on fundamental questions about the universe, including how it began, why it is expanding and whether it contains life beyond our planet.

A decision on whether South Africa or Australia will host the $2 billion SKA had been expected next week, but the international consortium behind the project is now expected to debate a while longer.

"We have always been confident of the scientific and technical strength of our bid," Pandor said in a statement.

"Nonetheless, we recognise the importance of inclusivity and the imperative of ensuring all members of the SKA Organisation are part of discussions."

"Africa is ready to host the SKA and wants to do so. We are entirely committed to the success of the SKA and believe that it is best achieved in Africa," she added.

The SKA agreed last week to recommend a site to the full membership of the international consortium financing the scheme.

The members are set to meet on April 3 in Amsterdam, but are expected to debate the recommendation without making a final decision.

If South Africa wins the bidding, engineers will connect antennas in the arid Karoo region by remote link to a network of stretching across southern and eastern Africa and as far away as Ghana.

The new instrument will be 50 to 100 times more sensitive than today's most powerful .

Explore further: Australia, South Africa, short-listed for giant telescope

Related Stories

Debate still raging on site for super-telescope

March 23, 2012

An international consortium planning to build the world's most powerful radiotelescope is still debating whether South Africa or Australia should host the $2 billion project, an official said Friday.

Recommended for you

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

Earth flyby of 'space peanut' captured in new video

July 31, 2015

NASA scientists have used two giant, Earth-based radio telescopes to bounce radar signals off a passing asteroid and produce images of the peanut-shaped body as it approached close to Earth this past weekend.

Exoplanets 20/20: Looking back to the future

July 31, 2015

Geoff Marcy remembers the hair standing up on the back of his neck. Paul Butler remembers being dead tired. The two men had just made history: the first confirmation of a planet orbiting another star.

Binary star system precisely timed with pulsar's gamma-rays

July 31, 2015

Pulsars are rapidly rotating compact remnants born in the explosions of massive stars. They can be observed through their lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and gamma-rays. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.