back to article Square kilometre array decision delayed again

The board deciding on the location for the Square Kilometer Array has once again delayed choosing between Australia and South Africa as the host nation. Whether because the two proposed sites are so close as to present a nearly-impossible decision, or whether the political lobbying surrounding the SKA bids is has evenly …

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  1. banjomike
    Thumb Down

    Must be sited in Australia

    any super-scientific project that includes meercat (or meerKAT) is doomed.

    1. banjomike

      Re: Must be sited in Australia

      sorry about the spelling, meant meerkat (or meerKAT)

      1. An0n C0w4rd
        Joke

        Re: Must be sited in Australia

        they should have used comparethemeerkat.com to make the decision between the two sites.

    2. Yag

      Re: Must be sited in Australia

      According to your logic, the SKA should be located in Jamaïca...

      1. banjomike
        Thumb Up

        Re: Must be sited in Australia

        Exactly!!!

  2. Wombling_Free
    Boffin

    Why build only one?

    When for just twice the price (or less) you can build TWO?

    I would hazard a guess that twice the telescopes would give your FOUR times as much science.

    And everyone knows MORE SCIENCE is a good thing.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Boffin

      Stereo Vision?

      If the 2 sites could be remotely synchronised to point at the same piece of sky, would a smaller array at each site work better than a large one at a single site? Or could they do the project on just one site for the moment and then augment it by installing a similair array at the other site?

      Of course, more is always better but there are budgeting issues I guess

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Stereo Vision?

        I would have thought the better question is just what part of the sky could be seen from both places at the same time. Afaik the interferometry needed in this kind of set up works best in real time. Therefore both sites would have to be pointing at the same point.

  3. Dr Hotdog
    Boffin

    Politics appears to be swaying the decision here...

    as it usually does with projects of this scale.

    Splitting the SKA across both sites only makes sense from the political angle. The SKA's own Science and Engineering Committee concluded that a split site would reduce the scientific capability of the SKA. From the technical point of view building two major facilities on two continents instead of one (really) major one on one continent is obviously going to present more logistical challenges, which will either increase the costs (by hundreds of millions of dollars in extra infrastructure alone) or force a descope.

  4. Jonathon Desmond
    WTF?

    So, there's really only one important question isn't there?

    If one site is scientifically superior, and the other has great development potential:

    Is this a scientific project, or a social development project?

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: So, there's really only one important question isn't there?

      It depends who controls the money (politicians) and how much good publicity they want (loads).

    2. Fink-Nottle

      Re: So, there's really only one important question isn't there?

      Your question has already been answered. Not only does the South African bid offer development potential, it is also the scientifically superior site.

      The SKA Site Advisory Committee recommended the South African site in preference to the Australian bid in March this year.

      However, the decision of the Scientific panel has now to be ratified by the member states. What is now at issue is the political dimension of the decision.

      http://www.nature.com/news/south-africa-wins-science-panel-s-backing-to-host-ska-telescope-1.10205

      1. Jonathon Desmond

        Re: So, there's really only one important question isn't there?

        No body really actually knows what the Site Advisory Committee said, it's not public. All we have is rumour and speculation - most of which points to the decision being "meh".

        I was going on the information in the article to hand. My point was that I have no beef if the SKA is seen as a social development project, but let's be clear and up front about it.

  5. Sceptic Tank
    Meh

    Why would anybody want to build a thing like that in the Karoo? There's absolutely nothing to see out there. Check it out on StreetView if you don't believe me.

    1. VaalDonkie

      There are just as many stars in the Karoo as the Australian outback.

    2. dischord

      That's kind of the point. It needs to be as far away from man-made interference as possible.

  6. VaalDonkie

    There are jsut as many stars in the karoo as in the Australian outback.

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