The West Australian government has refused to give up on its ambitions to host the world’s largest radio telescope, the the Square Kilometre Array, despite a scientific panel’s reported recommendation that the bid go to the rival South African consortium. The €1.5 billion construction project is slated to start as early as 2016 …
SKA in Southern Africa?
Sure, the Karoo is pretty quiet and good for astronomical purposes, That might give South Africa the edge when evaluated by astronomers, but that's not the only consideration. The administrative people would likely prefer somewhere else.
SKA is a long-term project. South Africa is unstable and not improving. Murder and violence are rife. Power supply is iffy and unlikely to improve. The chance of SKA kit being stolen for scrap metal is bloody high.
Full disclosure: I am Australia.. but really..
"Until now, two sites have been proposed to host the SKA: South Africa partnering with Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique and Zambia; and the rival bidder Australia in collaboration with New Zealand."
Option1: locate the array across 9 countries in Africa, most of which are not exactly known for their stable government or populace (or both);
Option 2: locate the array in a single state of a single country (and still have room to expand - WA is *big*) which is geopolitically stable. Well... as stable as a republican government can ever get, what with "election fever". (yes, republican. The world's so-called democracies are all republics)
Explain to me why option 1 is more viable than option 2?
Yep - Australian too with a number of African holiday's under my belt - and I can't see how option1 is more viable than option 2 either.
Exabyte of data a day...
"Hosting the telescope would create an almost incomparable "big data" project for the winner, demanding huge data links and computing power to handle the daily exabyte of data the instruments would collect"
South Africa maybe but Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique and Zambia?
I can understand NZ...
... but Western Australia?!?
Closer to Europe
Countries in Africa are closer to Europe, and therefore more convenient for Europeans.
Also, I'm guessing there is some degree of sentiment along the lines that Africa needs the money, and a desire to help them out.
I suspect Australia and NZ could handle the task better, but that may not be the only consideration.
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