Further delays signalled in super-telescope plan

Apr 04, 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: Short, sharp shocks let slip the stories of supernovae

Related Stories

Debate still raging on site for super-telescope

Mar 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 observes one-of-a-kind star nicknamed 'Nasty'

May 21, 2015

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the star is ...

Galaxy's snacking habits revealed

May 20, 2015

A team of Australian and Spanish astronomers have caught a greedy galaxy gobbling on its neighbours and leaving crumbs of evidence about its dietary past.

Supernova ignition surprises scientists

May 20, 2015

Scientists have captured the early death throes of supernovae for the first time and found that the universe's benchmark explosions are much more varied than expected.

User comments : 0

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.