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Split decision for SKA?

5 Apr 2012, 11:24 UTC
Split decision for SKA?
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No decision yet on who will host the €1.5bn Square Kilometre Array

Artist's impression of the dishes for the €1.5bn Square Kilometre Array.
(Courtesy: SPDO/Swinburne Astronomy Productions)

By Michael Banks

A decision on who will build the €1.5bn Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will have to wait after the SKA Organisation announced yesterday that no outcome had been achieved.

SKA is a massive next-generation radio-astronomy facility consisting of around 2000–3000 linked antennas that will probe the first 100 million years after the Big Bang for clues about galaxy evolution, dark matter and dark energy.

Two rival bids are going head-to-head to host the telescope: one led by Australia and the other by South Africa.

The eight members of the SKA Organisation – including China, Italy and the UK – have the final say in who will host the telescope. They met yesterday at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in the Netherlands to discuss the site selection advisory committee's report, which according to leaks suggested that southern Africa had got the nod.

After the meeting the SKA Organisation issued a press release that gave no indication of a site choice, only saying that it "wished to move ahead with the site ...

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