SKA design phase launched

The Square Kilometre Array radio telescope is expected to cost over R1 billion to design.

An artist impression of SKA dishes. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG - The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation on Monday announced the start of a three-year design phase.

It will see more than 350 scientists and engineers conceptualise the most powerful radio telescope on earth.

The majority of the project is being built in South Africa, which is sharing the project with Australia and New Zealand.

The SKA will help scientists answer some of the most fundamental questions about human existence by studying the universe.

Speaking to Eyewitness News from England, the organisation's Phil Diamond says teams from 18 nations, including South Africa, will work on various aspects of the design.

"We're very excited that today is kick off day. I'm just hoping everything runs smoothly from here."

The design phase is expected to cost more than R1 billion.

A total of 11 countries are formal partners in the SKA project.