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MeerKAT radio telescope helps 72 students further their studies

Besides revolutionary research work, Square Kilometre Array South Africa also invests in human capital development programmes.

One of the 64 radio telescopes that are part of the MeerKAT project behind a plaque unveiled by Deputy President David Mabuza. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The recently launched MeerKAT radio telescope in the Northern Cape has paved the way for 72 students to further their studies.

Astronomers working at the site outside the town of Carnarvon say besides groundbreaking research, the facility also has other socio-economic spin-offs.

A world-first image of the centre of the Milky Way was revealed during the MeerKAT launch event last week.

The image captured by the MeerKAT is located about 25,000 light years from planet earth.

Besides revolutionary research work, Square Kilometre Array South Africa also invests in human capital development programmes.

Officials say a number of schools in the region benefit from these initiatives.

Former Carnarvon High School learner, aged 21, Janethan de Klerk now studies computer science at the University of the Free State.

“They literally helped us register until the end and it has opened doors for me since my parents couldn’t afford it. I had to take this opportunity and make the best out of it.”

While the site was under construction, over R134 million was spent on local suppliers in the region.

Local leaders say the project also created more than 7,000 employment opportunities.

WATCH: MeerKAT radio telescopes unveiled

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