The Australian and New Zealand governments have agreed to join forces to bid for the A$2.5 billion (NZ$3.1 billion) international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. The formal arrangement will be signed by New Zealand’s Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Australian Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, at the Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney this morning.
The SKA is a large-scale, new-generation radio-telescope that will be by far the most powerful of its type in the world, with a discovery potential 10,000 times greater than current instruments. The SKA will see up to four thousand antennas spread over a five thousand kilometre baseline to create a single deep space listening device.
The telescope – able to see back to the formation of the first stars – is one of the world’s most significant mega-science projects – on a par with the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. Australia and New Zealand are one of the two shortlisted sites – the other is in Southern Africa. If the array is constructed it will be constructed in Western Austalia. Read more about SKA