Pretoria – South Africans have been urged to help the country win the bid to host the world largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), by highlighting their science and technology strengths.
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor made this plea at the CSIR Biennial Conference on Tuesday in Pretoria.
“In the run-up to the vital decision about who will host the SKA, all of us must make an effort to showcase our strong science and production capabilities across all of the areas that are required for the SKA to run successfully. We need to highlight that such a project has the power to strengthen science, technology, and innovation in Africa,” she said.
The minister added that all had a role to play in strengthening the bid, including researchers, the media and local industry.
South Africa and Australia are the only two countries shortlisted to host the SKA – poised to be by far the largest radio telescope in the world. SKA funders are expected to announce the host country in March 2012.
If South Africa wins the bid it would consolidate Africa as a major hub for astronomy in the world.
The core of the telescope will be located in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, with about three antenna stations in Namibia, four in Botswana and one each in Mozambique, Mauritius, Madagascar, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Each antenna station will consist of about 30 to 40 individual antennae.
The minister said the SKA was a science project that offered immense opportunities for advancing technology development, engineering and innovation in areas that range from computing and information and communication technology, as well as the development of new materials to construct the satellite dishes, right through to innovative energy solutions to power the SKA.
Source – BuaNews – by Nthambeleni Gabara