World’s biggest telescope – the Aussie bid

Artist's impression of the Square Kilometre Array

Artist's impression of the Square Kilometre Array. Australia and New Zealand are competing with Southern Africa to host the facility, which will be the biggest and most powerful radio telescope ever built.

  • Australia pushing its bid for the SKA
  • To be the largest telescope in the world
  • Competing with Southern Africa to host it

Australia is pursuing its bid to host the world’s most powerful radio telescope at the 2010 International Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Forum in the Netherlands.

An international project involving some 20 countries, the SKA will be one of the largest and most ambitious science projects ever devised. It has an estimated construction cost of €1.5 billion and a total cost of €9 billion ($13 billion) over its expected 50-year lifetime.

Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr, who is leading the Australian team at the forum, said the international science community had short-listed two possible sites – one in Australia and New Zealand and one in Southern Africa.

“The SKA will provide huge benefits, and not just to the host country. It will create opportunities for industry and support high-skill, high-wage jobs. It will attract world-class talent to Australia and New Zealand and inspire young people to pursue careers in science,” Senator Carr said.

“This extraordinarily ambitious project will allow the best astronomers from across the globe to work together on fundamental questions about the evolution of the universe.”

“The Australian Government is strongly backing the bid to host the SKA. We are investing over $280 million in infrastructure to support next-generation radio astronomy in Western Australia. The Government of Western Australia is investing another $30 million.”

“Australia and New Zealand are the ideal location for the SKA. The International SKA Forum is an opportunity to bring the scientific advantages of the Australian and New Zealand site home to the international community.”

“Australia and New Zealand have a very compelling case. We have a remote site, free of radio interference; a long tradition of excellence in radio astronomy that goes right back to the birth of the discipline; and superb astronomy infrastructure and a fibre-optic network (NBN) to support the SKA,” Senator Carr said.

Adapted from information issued by the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research / CSIRO / Xilostudios / ISPO / Swinburne University.

Filed Under: Australian ScienceFeatured storiesNews Archive

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