Pandor explains SKA split

Minister Naledi Pandor says the decision to split the SKA project was for the sake of inclusivity.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The world's biggest and most advanced radio telescope the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will be split between South Africa and Australia/New Zealand.

The decision was made at a SKA organisation meeting in the Netherlands on Friday.

The board agreed on a dual site approach for the multi billion rand project.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the decision came after nine years of hard work from the South African team.

She said the independent advisory committee, made up of world renowned experts, assessed both sites.

They carried out technical and scientific assessments, Pandor said.

"They identified Africa as the preferred site."

Pandor said the split will be inclusive.

"The SKA organisation has agreed that it should construct one of the three receiver components in Australia. Two will be constructed in Africa."

SKA has been described as the 'experiment of the century'.

At its last meeting, the group hinted at a win-win scenario.

It said both countries had invested too much time and money to simply walk away from the project.