Seven nations to build world’s biggest telescope

Australia is one of seven nations that have signed up to build the world’s largest radio-telescope across large areas of Western Australia and South Africa.

Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom will join in building the thousands of antennas that will make up the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

Industry minister, Karen Andrews said: “The signing of the international treaty is an incredible achievement for all countries involved and reinforces Australia’s leading role in this global project.

“Many great advancements in science can be attributed to exploration and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Through this venture, our scientists will have access to data that will help unlock the mysteries of the universe.

Last month @AuManufacturing reported that the engineering design of the project had been completed.

Australia has allocated $293 million over 10 years towards building and initially operating the SKA.

The Australian component of the SKA, SKA-Low, will be the world’s most sensitive low frequency radio telescope.

Hosted at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, it will initially comprise over 130,000 antennas spread over 65 kilometres in remote Western Australia.

Around $1 billion worth of contracts for the construction of the SKA are expected to start being awarded from late 2020 to companies and providers in the SKA’s member countries, providing a substantial return on investment for those countries.

Picture: CSIRO

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