29 May 2012
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project will create new work opportunities in the Northern Cape, the provincial government said on Monday.
“This gigantic project has and will create both direct and indirect opportunities for the people and businesses in the region and province as a whole,” said spokesman Monwabisi Nkompela.
This especially applied to the youth, who would get an opportunity to pursue skills in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and artisanry.
Nkompela said jobs would be created through projects emerging from the SKA, such as an anticipated tourism boom, construction of roads and other related projects.
“We need to further highlight that the greater part of the telescope has been allocated to the South African site, due to the ideal and excellent environmental conditions.”
He said the Northern Cape had proved that it had the potential to be an astronomy hub, where various scientific accolades could be achieved.
“We have no doubt that the SKA [South Africa] team will continue to amaze the science world on what it is capable of,” Nkompela said.
The SKA board announced on Friday that South Africa would share the SKA location with Australia.
The SKA will be 50 times more sensitive than the current most powerful radio telescopes. Scientists hope the SKA project will provide answers about the universe, such as how it started and why it is expanding.
Australia’s core site will be the Mileura station, about 100 kilometres west of Meekathara in western Australia.
South Africa’s main site will be outside Carnarvon in the Karoo. Satellite dishes for the project will stretch across south and east Africa.