The Construction Of The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Telescopes Has Been Approved In South Africa

The Construction Of The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Telescopes Has Been Approved In South Africa. At a historic meeting of its council last week, the recently formed SKA Observatory (SKAO) saw its member states approve the start of construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescopes in South Africa and Australia.

In a statement, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) says the two telescopes, currently designated SKA-Low and SKA-Mid, names which describe the radio frequency range they each cover, will be the two largest and most complex networks of radio telescopes ever built.

“I am ecstatic. This moment has been 30 years in the making,” SKAO director-general Professor Philip Diamond told IT Web. “Today, humankind is taking another giant leap by committing to build what will be the largest science facility of its kind on the planet; not just one but the two largest and most complex radio telescope networks, designed to unlock some of the most fascinating secrets of our universe.

“I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to making this possible over the past decades, from the early inception of the project until now, and in particular, all the teams who have worked so hard over recent years and powered on through a pandemic in very difficult circumstances to meet deadlines and make this milestone possible. I would also like to thank our member states for their vision and the trust they’re placing in us by investing in a large-scale, long-term research infrastructure at a time when public finances are under intense pressure.” Diamond added.

“I would like to add my thanks to the members of the SKAO Council and the governments they represent,” Dr Catherine Cesarsky, chairperson of the SKAO Council also told IT Web. “Giving the green light to start the construction of the SKA telescopes shows their confidence in the professional work that’s been done by the SKAO to get here, with a sound plan that is ready for implementation, and in the bright future of this ground-breaking research facility.”

By Thomas Chiothamisi

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