Canada to invest R3.7-billion in SKA telescope project

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SKA-MPI, a Max Planck Society-funded prototype dish, being assembled at a site in South Africa’s Karoo desert. Image: Nasief Manie/Sarao

Canada has pledged C$269-million (R3.7-billion) over an eight-year period towards the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) being built by South Africa and Australia.

A collaboration between multiple governments, including those of South Africa and Australia, where the dishes for the world’s largest radio astronomy telescope are situated.

“Canada has been a longstanding leader in astronomy and the exploration of the universe, and Canada’s membership in the Square Kilometre Array observatory will give Canadian researchers access to the world’s most powerful radio telescope,” said Francios Phillipe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science & industry, in a statement.

The SKA project is overseen by the SKA Organisation, which has 15 member countries: Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, France, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK.

The goal of the project is to build a next-generation radio telescope that will have a square kilometre of the sky as its data collection area to improve our understanding of the universe.

The gigantic SKA receivers are situated in remote and arid regions of South Africa and Australia – areas chosen because they have minimal radio frequency interference from man-made sources such as cellphone and TV broadcasting signals.

Newest member

Although not previously an SKA Organisation member, Canada has partnered with the entity in prior years. The investment in the SKA project will see Canada become a fully fledged member of the organisation.

“Canada has been a valued partner within the SKA project for over 20 years, and I am delighted to welcome them as our newest member, extending the observatory’s membership into North America,” said Phil Diamon, director-general of the SKA Organisation, in the statement.  – © 2024 NewsCentral Media

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