Officials from 15 countries have met in Rome today to create an intergovernmental governing body for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – the huge radio telescope that is under construction in South Africa and Australia. At the meeting at the Italian Ministry of Research and Education, seven countries – Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the UK – signed a convention to create the Square Kilometre Array Observatory. SKA officials are hopeful that the six remaining participating members of the SKA – Canada, France, India, Sweden and New Zealand – will sign the convention at a later date.
The SKA will consist of hundreds of radio dishes and thousands of antennas that will be spread out across thousands of kilometres in both Australia and southern Africa. It will aim to study gravitational waves, investigate the nature of fast-radio bursts, map hundreds of millions of galaxies as well as look for signs of life in the universe.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, designing, building and operating the world’s biggest telescope takes decades of efforts
All the signatories in Rome will now become founding members of the SKA Observatory. As an intergovernmental organization, the SKA ...