Mega Science Projects & Facilities
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development towards building and delivering a unique instrument, with the detailed design and preparation now well under way. As one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, the SKA will bring together a wealth of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers to bring the project to fruition.
In the first phase there will be about 200 dishes in South Africa’s Karoo region, and over 130,000 low frequency antennas in Western Australia’s Murchison Shire, that will monitor the sky in unprecedented detail, in a complementary range of radio frequencies. The two sites are chosen for co-hosting the SKA based on the characteristics of the atmosphere above the sites and their radio quietness, which comes from being some of the most remote yet accessible locations on the Earth. The unprecedented sensitivity of the SKA’s receivers will allow insights into the formation and evolution of the first stars and galaxies after the Big Bang, the role of cosmic magnetism, the nature of gravity, and possibly even life beyond Earth, not to mention serendipitous discoveries that are expected when something so much more sensitive than any existing facility is built. Indian scientists are involved in many of the SKA’s Science Working Groups, and India co-chairs the Solar Physics WG.
Organisations from 14 countries are members of the SKA Organisation – Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.