Construction has got underway in Australia and South Africa of a network of antennas which, when complete, together will form the world’s largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
The enormous cross-continental telescope is anticipated to provide scientific results that can change our understanding of the universe.
Each South Africa and Australia have huge expanses of land in distant areas with little radio disturbance which is good for this sort of installation.
The concept for the telescope was first conceived within the early Nineteen Nineties, however the project was stricken by delays, funding issues, and diplomatic jockeying.
The SKA is headquartered in the UK and has 14 members: Britain, Australia, South Africa, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Recent Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and The Netherlands.
The director general of the Square Kilometre Array Organisation, Philip Diamond, has described the start of its construction as ‘momentous’ saying it should be ‘one among humanity’s biggest-ever scientific endeavours’.
Greater than 130,000 Christmas tree-shaped antennas are planned in Western Australia, to be built on the standard lands of the Wajarri Aboriginal people. In South Africa, the positioning will feature nearly 200 dishes within the distant Karoo region.
The massive distances between the antennas, and their sheer number, mean that the telescope will pick up radio signals with unprecedented sensitivity because the SKA probes targets within the sky.
‘The 2 complementary telescopes will probably be the ears on either side of the planet, allowing us to hearken to those murmurings from the deep universe that are driving such excitement in each science and deepen our understanding of the universe during which we live and the origins of life,’ says George Freeman, Britain’s Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation.
Construction of the SKA is attributable to be accomplished in 2028.