News-CRUX-10     10th January 2024        

Context: India had decided to formally join the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project, an international scientific collaboration working to build the world’s largest radio telescope.

Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project

  • About: An intergovernmental international radio telescope project being built in Australia (low-frequency) and South Africa (mid-frequency).

oThe SKA cores are being built in the southern hemisphere, where the view of the Milky Way galaxy is the best and radio interference at its least.

oThis will not be a single large telescope, but a collection of thousands of dish antennas operating as a single unit.

oThe name, Square Kilometer Array, comes from the original intention to create one square kilometre (one million square metre) of effective area for collecting radio waves.

oThis was meant to be achieved by installing thousands of smaller antennas in a specific array design that would make them function like a single radio telescope.

  • Location: Meerkat National Park, South Africa and Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, Australia.
  • India’s participation: India’s participation: India had already been contributing to the project for the past several years, but the full member status, which offers greater scientific opportunities to use the upcoming facility, requires countries to sign and ratify an international treaty, and also make a financial commitment.

oIndia has approved Rs 1,250 crore for the project, which includes its funding contribution for the construction phase.