SKA South Africa and Agri SA today signed an agreement that commits both organisations to jointly ensure that local communities of the Karoo benefit from the SKA project.
Square Kilometre Array
In anticipation of the impacts that the construction of the SKA radio telescope will have on the environment and local communities in the Karoo, SKA SA is partnering with civil society organisations to ensure that these impacts remain positive.
Currently, SKA SA is negotiating with landowners to buy 32 portions of land or a total of 118,000 hectares to build the core of the SKA. This will be sufficient land to build the entire core of the SKA radio telescope. Antennas will also be built across three spiral arms that will stretch out from the core. Use of the land for the purpose of establishing the spiral arms will be negotiated by establishing servitude agreements with landowners.
When constructed, the SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope. Engineering teams from around the world are finalising the design of the telescope, while the international astronomy community prepares to use this next-generation facility.
The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.
The view is showing 10% of the full MeerKAT First Light radio image. More than 200 astronomical radio sources (white dots) are visible in this picture. Before MeerKAT only five were known (indicated by violet circles). This image spans about the area of the Earth’s moon. SKA South Africa
Something hugely important is happening in a vast, quiet stretch of South Africa’s Northern Cape province. A new radio telescope operating at just a quarter of its full power is revealing the universe’s secrets one image at a time.
MeerKAT will ultimately become part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope. Once it’s completed some time in the decade following 2020, the SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope. The project is shared between South Africa and Australia. It’s not just its size that sets it apart from other radio telescopes but also sensitivity and speed. At full power, the SKA will have 50 times the sensitivity and 10,000 times the survey speed of the best existing telescopes.
It will see more, and see it faster. It can explore the universe and answer some of humanity’s biggest scientific questions – like, “Is there life out there?” and “How are galaxies formed?”
All of this lies some time in the future. But already, MeerKAT is yielding remarkable results.
Carnarvon – Farmers in the Kareeberg area in the Northern Cape say while they have realised there is no escaping the prospect of having to give up their farms, they must be left in a position where they are able to relocate and continue farming.
This as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project in Carnarvon pushes ahead with plans to purchase a further 130 000 hectares of land for inclusion in the conservancy area of the multi-national science project.
Fanie Dippenaar shared the viewpoint of farmers in the area during the Agri Northern Cape Congress in Kimberley this week. He says the fairy tale has now turned into a nightmare.