Australia and New Zealand’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope took a step forward today with the formation of the SKA Organisation.
Australia and New Zealand with China, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and South Africa established the organisation to govern the SKA and make the host site selection – due in early 2012.
Minister for Innovation Senator Kim Carr said membership of the SKA Organisation means Australia will benefit from the many opportunities arising from this cutting-edge scientific infrastructure.
“The SKA represents the future of radio-astronomy research. It needs strong governance to see it move from design phase, through construction, and ultimately to ongoing operation,” Senator Carr said.
“The leadership shown by these and future signatories will help ensure the full, ambitious science and technical goals of this exciting multinational mega-science project can be realised.”
Formation of the organisation formalises Australia’s relationships with international partners and centralises SKA leadership.
The Australia-New Zealand bid to host the €1.5 billion radio telescope is one of two bids undergoing a rigorous site selection process. A coalition of African nations is also competing for the site.
The SKA will comprise over 3,000 antennas over a 5,500 kilometre baseline that, operating together, will have 10,000 times the potential of existing telescopes to make new discoveries.
“This is a true mega-science project. It will have global reach, scale and scientific and technical ambition. With seven countries signed up to the SKA Organisation and even more expected to join over the next six months, it is a major international collaboration. It will drive development in receiver technology, fibre networks, signal processing, software and computing power,” Senator Carr said.
Australia and New Zealand SKA Project Director Dr Brian Boyle said “The establishment of the SKA Organisation is a key step in the global partnership to build the world's biggest telescope and we are very proud to be a part of it.”
For more information visit www.ska.gov.au.
A printable version of the media release [PDF 53 KB] is available.