Australia today announced it was signing the Square Kilometre Array Observatory Convention.
The Square Kilometer Array is an enormous radio telescope that will allow astronomers to view the cosmos in greater detail than ever possible.
About 130,000 antennas will be hosted in Murchison in WA while SOuth Africa will host the 200 satellite dishes.
The project isn’t expected to start construction until 2021 – when it will create about 200 direct jobs – but in the meantime international ratifications are underway.
Australia became the fourth country to sign onto the Convention, which is set to include 12 countries all together.
New Zealand, the UK, France, Canada, India and even China are all member countries.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the project would be a huge boon for the national economy.
“Not only does the project further cement Australia’s reputation for science and research and boost our international standing in radio astronomy, it also has the potential to create 200 construction jobs in regional Western Australia and Perth and a further 100 permanent positions,” she said.
“The Square Kilometre Array will also boost Australia’s advanced manufacturing sector, enabling local businesses to partner with international counterparts and design and build high tech telescope components.”
The 130,000 antennas to be located in Murchison will stretch across 65km.
With its sister site in South Africa, the SKA will be one of the biggest science projects in history.
WA Minister for Science Dave Kelly said Australia’s ratification of the convention enhanced WA’s position as a “global hub for radio astronomy”.
“(It) will offer significant economic and job-creating opportunities for the State,” he said.
“Just over a decade ago we had a handful of astronomers working in WA and now there are around 135 astronomers, 25 engineers and 25 data scientists working in WA on the SKA project and in astronomical research, with more to come.”
Watch: Square Kilometre Array – a new observatory to explore the Universe
Feature image: skatelescope.org
For further information visit skatelescope.org.
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