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Construction begins on world’s largest globe-spanning radio telescope

  • December 05, 2022

First envisaged back in the early nineties, the SKA project has been beset by delays, funding issues and diplomatic hurdles — making today’s breaking ground on the construction front a truly “momentous” occasion, SKAO Director-General Professor Philip Diamond said.

The telescope, he added, “will be one of humanity’s biggest-ever scientific endeavours.” It takes its name from the fact that, as conceived, it will have a total collecting area of around one square kilometre.

The beauty of the design lies in how the distributed nature of the two arrays will allow them to work together as if they were one, enormous, virtual radio telescope dish.

Astronomer Dr Danny Price of Australia’s Curtin University elaborates: “To put the sensitivity of the SKA into perspective, [it] could detect a mobile phone in the pocket of an astronaut on Mars, 225 million kilometres [140 million miles] away.”

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