Construction of Square Kilometre Array deep space telescope to begin next year

Midwest Times
An artists impression of the aerial view of the SKA’s low frequency aperture arrays and ASKAP dishes in Western Australia.
Camera IconAn artists impression of the aerial view of the SKA’s low frequency aperture arrays and ASKAP dishes in Western Australia. Credit: Supplied

A major milestone has been reached with construction of the of the world’s largest telescope to begin in the Murchison region next year.

The Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research announced today seven years of preparation for the Square Kilometre Array had completed.

Curtin University professor Steven Tingay said the project had a budget of three billion dollars over its first ten years.

“Over the last seven years, the Commonwealth Government has supported my team with $10.1 million to reach this milestone, and a significant fraction of these funds has helped Western Australian industry to get ready for SKA construction contracts, especially around Geraldton and the State’s Mid West,” he said.

The project is expected to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy.

Initially, 130,000 individual radio antennas will be built and spread over thousands of square kilometres at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory working with an array of 197 dishes located in South Africa.

An artist's impression showing a close-up of the SKA’s low frequency aperture arrays and ASKAP dishes in the Murchison region.
Camera IconAn artist's impression showing a close-up of the SKA’s low frequency aperture arrays and ASKAP dishes in the Murchison region. Credit: Supplied

The goal of this project is to eventually expand this up to a million antennas, each about two metres in height.

Western Australian Minister for Science Dave Kelly said all West Australians can be proud the State is going to be the home to the SKA, one of the biggest science projects in human history.

“Through this investment, Western Australia has become a global hub for radio astronomy,” he said.

The project is a multinational effort which will be used to search for the first stars 13 billion years ago, look for missing matter in the Universe, and survey galaxies on an unprecedented scale.

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