Construction of world’s largest radio telescope to begin in July

Construction of world’s largest radio telescope to begin in July.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The construction of the world’s largest radio telescope will begin from July 1, 2021, combining 197 dishes in South Africa and 131,072 antennas in Western Australia.

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The €2 billion Square Kilometre Array Observatory is an international partnership between Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The construction phase is expected to be completed in 2029 and once fully operational, the telescope will generate 710 Perabytes of science data per year.

“I am ecstatic. This moment has been 30 years in the making,” SKAO Director-General Philip Diamond said in a statement.

“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.”

Headquartered in the UK, the members believe that the SKAO’s telescopes, SKA-Low and SKA-Mid, will explore the unknown frontiers of science and deepen the understanding of key processes, including the formation and evolution of galaxies, fundamental physics in extreme environments and the origins of life.

Besides, SKAO will help address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and deliver significant benefits across its membership and beyond, they added.

“In addition to delivering exciting and revolutionary science, the construction of the SKA telescopes will produce tangible societal and economic benefits for countries involved in the project through direct and indirect economic returns from innovation and technological spin-offs, new high-tech jobs and boosted industrial capacity, among others,” a SKAO press release reads.

500 engineers from 100 institutions from over 20 countries are involved in the design of the telescopes and an additional 1000 engineers are involved in the development of the science case.

Over the new few months, procurement of major contracts for the SKA telescopes will start and almost 70 contracts will be placed for bidding within its member states. The telescopes are planned to have a productive scientific lifetime of 50 years or more.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 6:34:09 AM |

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