SKA: Design phase is critical

Work is underway in the Karoo to extend the existing Meerkat precursor project.

An artist impression of the Square Kilometre Array dishes. Picture: ska.ac.za

JOHANNESBURG - The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation says a three-year design phase launched this week is the most crucial pahse along the way to building the most powerful radio telescope in human history.

Teams from 18 nations, including more than 300 scientists and engineers, will design various aspects of the SKA.

South Africa won the right to host the lion's share of the telescope array and is participating in the design phase, which will cost more than R1 billion.

The SKA's Phil Diamond spoke to Eyewitness News from England and says the design is like a jigsaw puzzle which will come together at the end of three years.

"All of this is meaningless unless we get the design right so the work that the engineers are doing is the critical aspect of the SKA."

Work is underway in the Karoo to extend the existing Meerkat precursor project.

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