SKA Site Duel ends in Dual Site for SKA
I wasn’t going to post about this but then I realised nobody seemed to have used the obvious headline so thought I might as well knock out a quickie.
Yesterday, after much to-ing and fro-ing an announcement was finally made concerning the site of the Square Kilometre Array. The two contenders for the honour of hosting this superb project were South Africa and Australasia (both Australia and New Zealand get a bit, actually).
So who won?
Well, formally the decision was to split the project between both. At first sight this looks like a political compromise, but wiser heads than me disagree and say that this an excellent outcome on science grounds. I’d be interested to hear opinions on that, in fact.
In any case, a quick skim through the STFC announcement makes it clear that South Africa actually gets the lion’s share of the actual dishes, which will be operated alongside the Meerkat facility, and will do what I think is the more exciting science. Having been to Cape Town just recently I know how much the SKA project means for astronomy in South Africa so I’m delighted for them that the outcome is so positive.
It does, however, remain to be seen what the implications of this decision are for the overall cost and scientific value-for-money, but for the time being the thing I’m most pleased about is that a decision has been reached. I think the SKA project is by far the most exciting ground-based astronomy project around, and it will be very exciting to watch it grow.Follow @telescoper