Australia steps up funding for Square Kilometre Array technology
The Australian Government has announced that it will provide new money for the construction of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). Some 17 countries are currently building a SKA telescope, and Australia believes that the new national apparatus will be a test bed for the technology. SKA technology appears on a list of 35 priority infrastructure projects drawn up by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. 'SKA is the next generation radio telescope. With an operating frequency range of 0.1 - 25 GHz and a collecting area of about 1,000,000 square metres, it will be 50 times more sensitive than current facilities. With its huge field-of-view it will be able to survey the sky more than 10,000 times faster than any existing radio telescope. The SKA will be a machine that transforms our view of the Universe,' said ESFRI in October 2006. The Australian facility will receive a funding boost of AUD 56.7 million (€34 million) over four years from the Government. The funding will also cover activities aimed at positioning Australia as the preferred site of the proposed SKA project. Australia and South Africa are currently vying for host status. Seven EU Member States are involved in the SKA project: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.