Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Australia Space The Almighty Buck Science

Australia and South Africa To Share the Square Kilometer Array 79

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-get-weekends-but-i-get-holidays dept.
ananyo writes "The battle for the world's largest radio telescope has ended in a draw. As an earlier Slashdot story suggested, South Africa and Australia are to split the Square Kilometre Array, a €1.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) project made up of 3,000 15-meter-wide dishes and an even larger number of simple antennas. The decision was announced at a meeting outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, following a vote by SKA's international board."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Australia and South Africa To Share the Square Kilometer Array

Comments Filter:
  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by durrr (1316311) on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:16AM (#40108791)

    So do we average out the proposed locations and put it in the middle of the ocean then?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nope, certain types of dishes are built in either country[1].

      [1] http://www.skatelescope.org/news/dual-site-agreed-square-kilometre-array-telescope/

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      Each country gets a one-half square kilometer array, obviously.
      • by tqk (413719)

        Each country gets a one-half square kilometer array, obviously.

        ... Which makes it an optical interferometer the size of half the planet. Cool.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So do we average out the proposed locations and put it in the middle of the ocean then?

      Hmm... what a shame there wasn't an equivalenly deep body of water approximately half-way between Sydney and Melbourne when they chose where to site the Australian capital.... ;-)

  • I wonder if one of the dishes is named "Reel Big Fish" and another one "Pietasters"? [wikipedia.org]

  • by schitso (2541028) on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:21AM (#40108827)
    ...each side comes out equally unhappy.
    • by jd (1658)

      I doubt they'll be unhappy. The wider area means a larger virtual dish and therefore higher accuracy for the scientists. The higher total cost means that the vendors stand to make more money from this, not less. The distribution over two continents means you've twice as many science budgets (so lower cost to each individual tax payer).

  • Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zaldarr (2469168) on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:22AM (#40108841) Homepage
    You know, you could just give it to one of us. We can take bad news. What the hell even is this? Some kind of game children played in the 90's where everybody won? I was under the impression that we were doing science.
    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Funny)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:44AM (#40108995)

      Some kind of game children played in the 90's where everybody won?

      There's no I in "team", but there's two in "Winning." You think that means we both win? Wrong. I win twice. Now give me that Silver medal.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Australia was the better site. Very stable country, low crime and secure location, virtually guaranteed not to get significant radio pollution nearby. The South African site was seen as the politically correct, charity "we're doing something good for the Africans" one.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      It's also $1.5 billion net income for the winner. That's nothing to sneeze at. 100 scientist salaries @ $100,000/yr is an extra $10 million a year in to the local economy. They will have kids, drive new cars, pay local school taxes and send their kids to private schools, buy new clothes, buy the best food, etc etc. The people who sell them luxuries will be able to buy medium quality goods, who in turn will be able to buy walmart/low quality goods. I'm not sure what the total improvement is, but adding a bun

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:24AM (#40108855)

    No. They are splitting the frequencies, which is a pretty good idea: "Most of the subsequent telescope dishes and mid-frequency aperture arrays will be built in Southern Africa, while the low-frequency aperture array antennas will be positioned in Australia." - One kilometer of MF and one kilometer of LF reception.

    • . . . I thought that political arguments about science always reduced themselves to splitting hairs . . .

  • by arcite (661011) on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:25AM (#40108861)
    When you can build two for double the money? Science won today my friends.
    • by kanto (1851816)

      When you can build two for double the money? Science won today my friends.

      They're still building a one whole for double cost and triple uncertainty of will we ever get it to work at 100%.

      • by jd (1658)

        Politics is involved. That makes uncertainty infinite. Triple infinity is still infinity.

      • by M1FCJ (586251)

        Linking antennas is hold hat, we know that bit works fine.

    • by cute-boy (62961)

      It will be very hard to run two projects for the same amount of money as there will be duplicated costs in so many areas regarding the building and running of the infrastructure.

      -R

  • by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:28AM (#40108879)

    It is very disappointing to see that political correctness has been allowed to 'tie' with science. How is this any different than things like government quotas for hiring police officers and fire fighters that set different standards for passing the tests based on your race? Science should be blind to things like this, if the best site was in Australia, it should have gone there, if the best site was in South Africa it should have gone there.

    • The two sites are both as good as it gets. We now have two telescopes each concentrating on a seperate part of the spectrum. Cooperation between the two telescopes will overlap into other areas of science and engineering, spreading hands on experience as well as ideas. I think it's a great outcome for science and I really can't see any reason to bitch about the politics that has brought the project this close to shovels in the ground.

      Disclaimer: I'm an Aussie taxpayer who would just like to see it up and
    • It is very disappointing to see that political correctness has been allowed to 'tie' with science.

      It didn't 'tie' with science. It defeated science.

    • by fredrated (639554)

      Two powerful interests clash and the outcome is a Solomonic splitting of the baby This happens when powers collide. For the life of me I can't derive 'political correctness' from any of this, perhaps you could explain further.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      If that's the way to get countries to fund science projects than what's the problem? The cost increase isn't that much, and that extra money would be wasted otherwise anyway.

  • by MikeMacK (788889) on Friday May 25, 2012 @10:30AM (#40108893)
    It's to be called the "Good Day Array"...
  • How is this going to work? When an astronomical object is visible to a telescope in South Africa, its not going to be visible to a telescope in Australia. I thought the idea of this was to have the whole array looking at the same thing in the sky.

    Of course it could be good for getting 24/7 coverage of some event or 'message' from aliens like in Contact...

    • by greylion3 (555507)

      Good point.
      Ideally, we should probably have one in each hemisphere, and one on the equator, to be able to observe all objects and/or events fairly well.

      Though by splitting it up, they're going to have to know the distance between the sites very precisely, to synchronize the images.
      (as in; way better than GPS accuracy).

      Problem is, if earthquakes in the (Richter) 8+ range modify the planet even slightly, the distance(s) will have to be measured again.
      I'm thinking of something similar to the 2010 earthquake in

    • by Millennium (2451)

      How is this going to work? When an astronomical object is visible to a telescope in South Africa, its not going to be visible to a telescope in Australia.

      That's not actually the case: they're close enough geographically that for any given object in the sky, there is a window of time when it will be visible from both regions (day/night doesn't matter, since the telescopes don't use visible light). That object will certainly be in a different part of the sky in each region, but both should still be able to focus on it during the time when it's visible to both.

      What this does do is shrink the aforementioned window of time, because the object has to be visible fr

  • by Anonymous Coward

    New Zealand is sharing the win with Australia and South Africa. Small detail I know..

  • The Ménage à Trois includes New Zealand...just to add to the fun
    • by gadfium (318941)

      Far more countries than that involved. Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Mauritius and Madagascar will all have dishes too.

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it. -- E. Hubbard

Working...