World’s Largest Telescope: SKA

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SKA South Africa imageSouth Africa and the Netherlands are set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which seeks to address the big data conundrum at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).The Netherlands is a strategic partner for South Africa, specifically with their involvement in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

Another area of priority in this collaboration is in the field of astronomy and big data which gained momentum in 2012 following a visit by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research to explore collaboration. In July 2014, a delegation from the South African science and technology ministry visited the Netherlands to advance partnerships in Astronomy and Big Data Partnerships between South Africa and Netherlands.

The Square Killometre Array is an initiative to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope to help better understand the history of the universe.

The SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope – a hundred times bigger than any current radio telescope; it will revolutionise the world’s understanding of the universe.
It will be built in two phases – SKA1 and SKA2 – starting in 2018. SKA 1 will include two instruments – SKA1 MID (to be built in SA) and SKA1 LOW (to be built in Australia); they will observe the universe at different frequencies.

With SA’s MeerKAT and the Netherlands’ Apertif telescopes both expected to come online in 2016, the scale of such data collection is poised to increase significant cooperation in Space Science and Technology

The visit was aimed at deepening existing collaborations and to further explore new possibilities in astronomy and big data within the context of developments in SKA and cyber-infrastructure investments in South Africa.

Scientists in South Africa and the Netherlands have been Building on the long-running ties, a joint agreement was entered into by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and MWO in 2012 to promote exchange of researchers and students, joint seminars and research projects.

In March 2014, a DST delegation visited the Netherlands to explore opportunities for collaboration in the bio-based economy with the Netherlands and to develop proposals that will strengthen the industrial section of the bio-economy. Efforts continue to explore cooperation in this area.

visit: SKA

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