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The Square Kilometre Array
Exploring the Universe with the world's largest radio telescope
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a radio telescope in development in Australia and South Africa which will have a total collecting area of approximately one square kilometre. It will operate over a wide range of frequencies and its size will make it 50 times more sensitive than any other radio instrument. It will require very high performance central computing engines and long-haul links with a capacity greater than the current global Internet traffic. It will be able to survey the sky more than ten thousand times faster than ever before.
With receiving stations extending out to distance of at least 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) from a concentrated central core, it will continue radio astronomy's tradition of providing the highest resolution images in all astronomy. The SKA will be built in the southern hemisphere, in Sub-Saharan states with cores in South Africa and Australia, where the view of the Milky Way Galaxy is best and radio interference least.
With a budget of €1.5 billion, construction of the SKA is scheduled to begin in 2016 for initial observations by 2019 and full operation by 2024. The headquarters of the project are in Manchester, in the UK.
The SKA is a global project with ten member countries which aims to provide answers to fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of the Universe.
In April 2011, Jodrell Bank Observatory (of the University of Manchester) in Cheshire, England was announced as the location of the headquarters office for the project.
In November 2011, the SKA Organisation was formed and the project moved from a collaboration to an independent, not for profit, company. As of December 2012, the members of the SKA Organisation are:
Australia: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Canada: National Research Council
China: National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Germany: Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Italy: National Institute for Astrophysics
New Zealand: Ministry of Economic Development
South Africa: National Research Foundation
Sweden: Onsala Space Observatory
The Netherlands: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
United Kingdom: Science and Technology Facilities Council
India's National Centre for Radio Astrophysics is an associate member of SKA. Germany has also indicated its intention to join SKA
The headquarters of the SKA will be located at Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, England.
An automatic wideband radio scanner system was used to survey the radio frequency noise levels at the various candidate sites in South Africa.
Suitable sites for the SKA telescope need to be in unpopulated areas with guaranteed very low levels of man-made radio interference. Four sites were initially proposed in South Africa, Australia, Argentina and China. After considerable site evaluation surveys, Argentina and China were dropped and the other two sites were shortlisted (with New Zealand joining the Australian bid, and 8 other African countries joining the South African bid):
Australia and New Zealand: The core site is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) near Boolardy 26°59′S 116°32′E in Western Australia 315 km north-east of Geraldton on a flat desert-like plain at an elevation of about 460 metres. The most distant stations will be located in New Zealand. 
South Africa: The core site is located at 30°43′16.068″S 21°24′40.068″E at an elevation of about 1000 metres in the Karoo area of the arid Northern Cape Province, about 75 km north-west of Carnarvon, with distant stations in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.
On 10 March 2012 it was reported that the SKA Site Advisory Committee had made a confidential report in February that the South African bid was stronger. The final decision on the site to be made by the project's board of directors was expected on 4 April 2012. However a scientific working group was set up to explore possible implementation options of the two candidate host regions, and its report was expected in mid May 2012.
On 25 May 2012 it was announced that the SKA will be split over the South African and African sites and the Australia and New Zealand sites
Originally posted by NewAgeMan
However, in regards to the anticipated detection of other earth-like worlds in our own galaxy, we must begin with cautious optimism by developing a much better appreciation of the rather unique cosmological configuration of our own earth-moon-sun system/relationship without which life on earth would not resemble anything close to what we presently enjoy and experience ie: a limited temperature range, liquid water across 90% of the surface of the planet, etc etc. Thus, if just one rocky water world is discovered, then and only then, could a statistical probability average not unlike the Drake Equation be formulated. As it sits now, based on the unique cosmological configuration of the life-giving earth-moon-sun relationship, the very premise of the Drake Equation may be brought into disrepute (more on that in another post).
Originally posted by NewAgeMan
This is truly the greatest scientific project ever undertaken in the history of the world.
If I was NASA I'd be wanting to piggy back on it, say by sending out a Radio Telescope Probe, to arrive at it's destination when this thing goes on line, and point at the earth, to calibrate info in regards to what an earth-like planet looks like in terms of it's molecular-biological "signature", as a point of reference/comparison. Does that make sense? I think it does.
Originally posted by NewAgeMan
Edit: I've done quite a bit of reading and research in regards to the earth-moon-sun relationship that gives life to the earth, and something I'd like to have mentioned for the show, if possible, is that the end result is a planet with liquid water across some or much or even all of its surface, along with cloud formations (of the right composition as on earth). Continental drift could also be examined during the intermittent periods of clear sky. Yes as far as I know this thing is that powerful, and will also be able to give a complete breakdown of the molecular composition of the atmosphere, and even of the surface of the planet itself ie: certain rock and mineral compositions (ie: by the refracted spectrum of light). Apparently, it's that powerful and even moreso in regards to it's ability to determine the molecular composition of exo-planets.
So like I said - if we find just ONE rocky water world, then there it is!
Originally posted by ImpactoR
reply to post by NewAgeMan
Solve Cosmic Mysteries?
Even ET Life?
You seriously believe that a bunch of non-high-tech radio telescope will solve the mysteries of the cosmos, were you OK when putting such a title? DREAM ON!
This is just laughable.
In straight text: There is either ET already and some from NASA and the gov are playing like they don't know anything OR lots of years would pass for any significant research..