South Africa's SKA bid gets science panel's backing

Scientific American and Nature magazine report that the SKA Site Advisory Committee scientific panel has narrowly recommended South Africa over Australia as the best site for the proposed Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an enormous radio telescope.
The panel's recommendation was initially reported by Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, and a source familiar with the site-selection process confirmed to Nature that the panel had indeed made a decision, but added that it was a close call. "This is not an enormous preference for one over the other," the source said.

The South African site has some compelling advantages: construction costs are lower, and it sits at a higher altitude. But the Australian site would be cheaper to insure, and is less likely to be encroached on by future development. According to Scientific American and Nature magazine, members of the SKA's board will have a closed meeting on March 19 in Manchester, UK, to discuss the scientific panel's recommendations. After the meeting, the SKA's board will write a commentary to accompany the recommendation, informing the final decision, which could come as soon as April 4, when a meeting of the board is tentatively scheduled in Amsterdam.

Read the full article on www.scientificamerican.com.


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