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Government has gazetted regulations restricting activities in areas which will host the multi-billion rand Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project – possibly putting an end to fracking plans in the Northern Cape.
According to the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act 21 of 2007 no mining or prospecting will be allowed in areas which host the SKA; the Southern African large telescope (SALT) as well as the MeerKAT radio telescope.
While Shell had planned shale gas explorations – also known as fracking – in the Karoo, the announcement that SA would host 70% of the SKA project and the gazetting of the Act are set to affect the plan.
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will spend R78 million to extend the South African National Research Network (SANREN) connection to rural sites, including the remaining six higher education institutions that are unconnected. While deadlines were not met – Science and Technology minister, Naledi Pandor, noted that targets would be met in the current [...]
Science and Technology minister, Naledi Pandor, says she hopes a decision on the host site for the multi-billion rand Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope will be made at the end of May.
Addressing Parliament during her budget vote speech, Pandor noted that while no decision had been taken on the host country – she was still confident that SA had submitted the winning bid.
“The bidding countries submitted all the required technical information and we are impatiently awaiting the outcome of what we hope will be a final site consideration meeting on 25 May,” Pandor says.
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) says it is gearing up for strategic partnerships with private sector companies on developing scientific human capacity.
With a decision on the location for the billion rand Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project expected soon, the department noted that ICT infrastructure would be prioritised through the project.
“In this regard, engagements with ICT multinationals are expected to continue to grow in line with the implementation of the ICT roadmap. There is also keen interest in the development of next-generation technologies for the SKA and other radio astronomy initiatives,” said Science and Technology minister, Naledi Pandor.
She added that several agreements had been concluded with multinational companies such as Microsoft, Nokia and SAP.
Science and Technology minister, Naledi Pandor, says she is not surprised by information in leaked reports which reveals that SA is the preferred site to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.
As the process to select the wining country to host the billion rand project reaches its conclusion, Pandor has emphasised that SA and its SKA partner countries have a site which is able to demonstrate scientific, technical and cost superiority.
“We were not surprised at the outcome of the SSAC deliberations as reported in the Australian press, as we have always been confident of the scientific and technical strength of our bid,” Pandor stated.
Cabinet has approved plans to provide poor households with access to set-top-boxes, as the country migrates from analogue to digital broadcasting.
About five million households that are deemed to be poor, will benefit from the subsidies. In addition, the full subsidisation for households with television sets in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project area of the Northern Cape was also approved.
“Cabinet has approved the Ownership Support Rollout Framework for Set-Top-Boxes (STB’s) to poor households that own television sets and the full subsidisation of outdoor and indoor antennae and the installation costs associated with rolling out digital signals,” said Cabinet spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi.
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) says it has collaborated with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) consortium to attract young people into science and engineering careers and to develop expertise in industry.
Speaking during the opening of the International Astronautical Congress in Cape Town – Science and Technology minister, Naledi Pandor, emphasised the role young graduates would play in the SKA project.
“Our young scientists and engineers have been able to jump to a leading role in many of the areas of development of the SKA, because of the excellent skills imparted by our universities and the expertise and experience that they have picked up from our partners. Our industries, too, have been very innovative. They have designed and built innovative equipment for the telescopes,” Pandor explained.
SA and Mauritius will build a low frequency array telescope with stations in both countries, as the countries prepare for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) bid.
The low frequency array will be called Multifrequency Interferometry Telescope for Radio Astronomy (MITRA) and is set to enhance research and development co-operation between the two countries.
The MITRA is radio astronomy project which aims to do extremely wide field imaging with heterogeneous non coplanar
arrays. The planning started a few years ago in a collaboration led by Girish Kumar Beeharry, from the University of Mauritius(UOM), and Stuart David Macpherson and Gary Peter Janse Van Vuuren, from the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
The first two MITRA nodes are being developed collaboratively at the Mauritius Radio Telescope site at Bras d’Eau, Poste de Flacq and at the DUT campus site, Durban, South Africa.
Following the submission of final bid documents to host the multi-billion rand Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, government says it is confident it had put in a winning bid.
Science and Technology minister, Naledi Pandor, emphasised that the country was hopeful it would be selected to host the major radio telescope.
“Africa will provide a home for the SKA to do revolutionary science. Our bid is a strong, cost-effective and robust proposal for building the Square Kilometre Array in Africa. Our site is orders of magnitude better than any existing observatory and is protected by the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act.
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Nokia have announced a partnership aimed at implementing several ICT projects in an effort to boost innovation and growth in the country. This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the DST and Nokia, establishing a framework on which potential areas of collaboration can be developed, funded [...]