Pretoria – Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor is disappointed at the delay in the announcement of who has won the bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope – the world’s largest radio telescope.
“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,” said the minister in a statement.
On Wednesday, the SKA Organisation said that following a meeting of its members in the Netherlands, it was agreed to set up a small scientific working group to explore possible implementation options that would ensure that there was an inclusive approach to SKA as well as maximise the value from the investments made by both candidate host regions.
The working group is expected to report back to the members at a meeting in mid-May. The report will provide additional information to facilitate the site decision for SKA.
South Africa is leading Africa’s bid to host the SKA radio telescope. Australia is leading an Australian/New Zealand bid.
The SKA will consist of about 3 000 dish-shaped antennae spread over a wide area. If Africa wins the SKA bid, the core of the telescope will be constructed in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, with outlying telescope stations throughout South Africa, and in Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar and Mauritius.
“We believe we have an excellent site at which exciting science will be done. We in Africa are ready to host the SKA,” reiterated Pandor.
Source: BuaNews – 5 April 2012