Australia may be host to the massive $2 billion Square Kilometre Array Telescope (SKA) if Australian conditions are deemed more suitable than South Africa. Ths SKA has been labelled as something that will help humanity as a whole and revolutionise information technology and renewable energy. Completion of the project is expected to be in 2024 and in its first week, it will generate more information than all the words that humanity has ever spoken.
Should the Australian bid be successful, the Shire of Murchison in North Western Australia is going to be the main location of the SKA Telescope. The site was chosen due to its low population within the shire’s 50000 square kilometre area and the low amount of mobile phone, radio and television interference. The Square Kilometre Array in Australia will consume a massive amount of energy to operate and will require some major developments in renewable energy to sustain it in its remote location.
Dr Brian Boyle is leading the Australia and New Zealand joint bid for the SKA telescope and has compared the SKA telescope with the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva (a large instrument currently being used to explore small matter) by saying, ”The world wide web was spawned by the design work for the Large Hadron Collider,… Who knows what revolution in IT or societal benefits from IT will be wrought by the SKA?”
There is a period of time referred to as the ‘dark ages’ which occurred between the big bang and the creation of the first stars. The power of the SKA will be able to examine this period of time to unlock secrets as yet unknown to science. The SKA will also have the ability to detect an aircraft radar at a range of 50 light years, expanding Earth’s scientific ability to detect other life in the universe.
According to Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, The Square Kilometre Array is “going to change science and its going to change the world in which we live via its massive number of spinoffs, which we don’t know what they are yet.”
When the SKA project is completed and operational the amount of data that will be coming out of the SKA every second will be ten times the information that comes down the internet over the whole world.
Any way you look at it, The Square Kilometre Array project is mind bogglingly huge!