Monday, December 5, 2011

Bidding BIG For Giant Telescope

When discussing "Space: The Final Frontier", one is talking ever-so-slightly 'big'. So when tracking its infinity, one needs big toys!
Oz and NZ are on the home straight to co-host the world's biggest and most sensitive radio telescope. If successful, 3000 dishes comprising the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will spread from remote Western Australia to Godzone.
The $2.5 billion SKA telescope is an internationally-funded project, promising to answer some of the most fundamental questions about the evolution of the universe, including the emergence of the first stars and galaxies.
Our joint hosting bid is one of two shortlisted: rival South Africa leads a consortium of eight other African nations. This month, the two bid teams make their final pitch to the SKA site advisory committee in London, before 12 independent experts recommend a preferred site to the SKA board in January. A decision is due in February, with construction in 2016.
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy:
"Don't Panic!"
The chosen site needs to be as radio-quiet as possible: free from electro-magnetic interference caused by things that create or conduct electricity - electric motors, generators, alternators, radio transmitters, welders: both proposed sites are in remote areas with low population.
(And before you ask, scientists already know - after exhaustive analysis of the writings of Douglas Adams - that The Meaning Of Life is definitely 42!)

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