Further delays signalled in super-telescope plan

April 4, 2012
An artist impression released by the SPDO show dishes of the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope by night. The international consortium behind a plan to build the world's most powerful radio telescope on Wednesday signalled further delays in deciding whether it should be hosted by South Africa or Australia.

The international consortium behind a plan to build the world's most powerful radio telescope on Wednesday signalled further delays in deciding whether it should be hosted by South Africa or Australia.

It was hoped that members of the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) Organisation would set a date for the eagerly awaited announcement during two meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Netherlands.

But the organisation based in Manchester, northwest England, agreed only to set up a working group to examine further the two bids for the $2 billion (1.5 billion euro) project, which is due to report back next month.

"They noted that it is important to maximise the value from the investments made by both candidate host regions," it said in a statement.

"They therefore agreed to set up a small scientific working group to explore possible implementation options that would achieve this.

"This working group will report back to the members at a meeting in mid-May; its report will provide additional information to facilitate the site decision for SKA."

South Africa's Science Minister Naledi Pandor reacted with dismay at the postponement.

"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," she said in a statement.

Scientists hope the SKA, which will be 50 to 100 times more sensitive than today's most powerful radio telescopes, will shed new light on fundamental questions about the universe, including how it began and why it is expanding.

Explore further: South Africa confident on super-telescope bid ahead of talks

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

Hubble catches a transformation in the Virgo constellation

December 9, 2016

The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of ...

Khatyrka meteorite found to have third quasicrystal

December 9, 2016

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from the U.S. and Italy has found evidence of a naturally formed quasicrystal in a sample obtained from the Khatyrka meteorite. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, ...

Scientists sweep stodgy stature from Saturn's C ring

December 9, 2016

As a cosmic dust magnet, Saturn's C ring gives away its youth. Once thought formed in an older, primordial era, the ring may be but a mere babe – less than 100 million years old, according to Cornell-led astronomers in ...

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.