Washington: Less than a year after the decision to site the revolutionary Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in both Southern Africa and Australia, the SKA Organisation has opened its new international headquarters.
In front of an invited audience of local and global dignitaries, scientists and engineers, the UK Minister for Universities and Science the Rt. Hon. David Willetts MP recently opened the building which will be home to the team managing the construction, design and scientific output of this groundbreaking telescope.
The SKA Organisation headquarters, located near to, and with views of the iconic Lovell Telescope at the University of Manchester`s Jodrell Bank Observatory in the UK, will be the central control hub for a global team who, over the next decade, will be building the SKA- the largest telescope ever seen on Earth.
"The Square Kilometre Array is set to be one of the world`s most exciting international science projects, giving us new and unparalleled insights into the universe," said the UK Minister for Universities and Science the Rt. Hon. David Willetts MP.
The elegant and modern 3.34 million pounds building, funded by the University of Manchester, is a state of the art facility that will eventually be home to upwards of 60 members of staff, including visiting scientists and engineers.
Designed by architects Fielden Clegg Bradley and built by John Turner Construction Group, the building uses numerous environmentally friendly engineering solutions by Capita Symonds to ensure a minimal environmental impact.
The Square Kilometre Array is a radio telescope, which will be built in the remote and radio quiet deserts of Australia and Southern Africa. These seemingly harsh locations have been carefully chosen for their remoteness from any possible man made radio interference. The SKA will comprise thousands of radio telescopes, which will be located in these two desert locations, and will also have dishes and antennas spread over thousands of kilometers to create a single giant telescope.
The SKA telescope will be attempting to unravel the most profound mysteries of humanity and will revolutionize our understanding of the universe.
The project is led by the SKA Organisation, a not-for-profit company, which includes multiple countries around the world including Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the UK. With India also as an associate member, the SKA Organisation is expected to embrace more countries over the coming years. With such a formidable scale, international collaboration is fundamental to this gigantic 21st Century project.
Construction of the SKA is due to begin in 2016 using a phased development approach.