SKA project (http://www.ska.ac.za/)South Africa is ready to host the world’s most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in southern Africa. Following an initial identification of sites suitable for the SKA by the International SKA Steering Committee in 2006, southern Africa and Australia are the finalists. A consortium of the major international science funding agencies, in consultation with the SKA Science and Engineering Committee (SSEC), will announce the selected site for the SKA in 2012.At about 50 – 100 times more sensitive than any other radio telescope on Earth, the SKA will be able to probe the edges of our Universe. It will help us to answer fundamental questions in astronomy, physics and cosmology, including the nature of dark energy and dark matter. It will be a powerful time machine that scientists will use to go back in time to explore the origins of the first galaxies, stars and planets. If there is life somewhere else in the Universe, the SKA will help us find it.The construction of the SKA is expected to cost about 1.5 billion Euro. The operations and maintenance of a large telescope normally cost about 10% of the capital costs per year. That means the international SKA consortium would be spending approximately 100 to 150 million Euro per year on the telescope. It is expected that a significant portion of the capital, operations and maintenance costs would be spent in the host country. South Africa offers a competitive and affordable solution for constructing, operating and maintaining the SKA.
Northern Cape, South Africa.SKA Project, about 70km from Carnarvon. Eric Miller.