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.

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4 Responses to “SKA Site Duel ends in Dual Site for SKA”

  1. [...] expert I don’t know what the scientific implications really are. For that, I will defer to Peter Coles and  Andy Lawrence. Andy argues convincingly that it’s actually a pretty good decision for [...]

  2. If it is such a good idea, why wasn’t it on the cards as a realistic option in the past? IMHO there are losers in this outcome.

    I’m already tired of the “I am pleased to announce…” emails that are circulating. I really sounds like political spin.

  3. Here is nice update on (some of) the details from Mike Garrett: http://mikegarrett.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/dual-site-ska1-and-ska2.html

  4. Brian Schmidt Says:

    I think I am convinced that it probably has some benefits for phase-I without too many additional costs. It does concern me that the extra costs are substantial for phase-II – and that may endanger the project. I hope we can see how things work in Phase-I, be flexible (which right now does not appear to be on the cards) in how we actually do phase-II to ensure the project is a success.

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