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: Planets with oddball orbits like Mercury could host life

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

The entropy of black holes

Sep 12, 2014

Yesterday I talked about black hole thermodynamics, specifically how you can write the laws of thermodynamics as laws about black holes. Central to the idea of thermodynamics is the property of entropy, which c ...

Modified theory of dark matter

Sep 12, 2014

Dark matter is an aspect of the universe we still don't fully understand. We have lots of evidence pointing to its existence (as I outlined in a series of posts a while back), and the best evidence we have point ...

Gaia discovers its first supernova

Sep 12, 2014

(Phys.org) —While scanning the sky to measure the positions and movements of stars in our Galaxy, Gaia has discovered its first stellar explosion in another galaxy far, far away.

User comments : 0