Australia and New Zealand have submitted their written proposal to host the Square Kilometre Array, the most powerful radio telescope ever conceived and one of the most ambitious projects of our time.
The submission of the Australian and New Zealand proposal is an important step in the international decision making process to determine the best place to site the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
Australian Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and New Zealand Economic Development Minister David Carter said hosting the SKA would put Australia and New Zealand at the forefront of international science.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Kiwis to be involved in a world-leading project that pushes the boundaries of scientific discovery,” Mr Carter said.
“The region has a long tradition of excellence and innovation in radio astronomy that goes right back to the birth of the field,” Senator Carr said.
Senator Carr said the two countries are proud to submit a comprehensive and compelling response to the request for information by the international SKA project.
“We have a remote site based in Western Australia with exceptional radio quiet characteristics and superb astronomy infrastructure. And, thanks to the National Broadband Network, Australia is rolling out the necessary fibre-optic links to allow SKA signals to be processed and transmitted.”
Mr Carter said there will be innovation and science spinoffs for both countries. “The SKA has great potential for innovative and high-tech companies and can inspire a new generation of scientists like the renowned Ernest Rutherford.”
The final decision on the host site for the SKA is expected in early 2012, with the SKA expected to be operating in 2020.
The Ministers say today is an important milestone in the journey towards a completed SKA.
“This is a huge collaborative undertaking, involving a number of nations and an array of cutting-edge technologies. It is important that the project continues to meet the agreed timelines for completion,” Senator Carr said.
Australia and New Zealand’s submission is the result of a major collaborative effort between 47 agencies across the two countries. Australia and New Zealand SKA Project Director Dr Brian Boyle said he was impressed by the collaborative approach of so many agencies.
“As ever, I am both amazed and unsurprised by the way in which so many Australian and New Zealand organisations have worked together seamlessly to deliver the response,” he said.