SKA decision delay disappointing
The anticipated date for a final decision was yesterday – but this has been delayed as the members of the SKA organisation consider the final site decision.
“I am disappointed at the delay. I hope that the SKA orgnaisation will make a decision in the first half of 2012 and that the decision will reflect the best scientific outcome,” Pandor said.
SA is currently in the final stages of a bid to host the €1.5 billion global SKA project to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. Sites in South Africa and Australia have been short-listed to host the central core of the SKA telescope.
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.
As part of the African commitment to the SKA project, SA is building the Karoo Array Telescope – the MeerKAT, in the Northern Cape. When completed in 2016, this precursor will be a demonstration telescope of technologies being considered for the SKA.
“We believe we have an excellent site at which exciting science will be done, we in Africa are ready to host the SKA,” Pandor emphasised.