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Members of the SKA Organisation have just announced the locations – there’s two of them – for the square kilometre array, which will revolutionise astronomy with the world’s most sensitive radio telescope peering into the dawn of the Universe.

South Africa was chosen to host most of the SKA, including all the dishes and mid-frequency aperture arrays. Western Australia and New Zealand will host the low-frequency aperture arrays. Construction is scheduled to start in 2016, and Phase I will cost around 1,500 million euros.

Astronomer Dave Reneke was excited about the news when he spoke on ABC radio yesterday – and as he says this is still a big opportunity for Australia, with more jobs for scientists, engineers and loads of other people involved in setting it up.

I’m excited too! Will the SKA find extraterrestrials by listening to their radio waves? Even if it doesn’t, it’s one of those big scientific endeavours that captures my imagination. A big international quest to explore the unknown. And there will be experts on the site just a shortish plane trip from home!

I heard the news via facebook from a friend who posted this awesome comic.

Big Science

Comic by Firstdog, click thru for link