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Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: DH

 Context: Union Cabinet has approved the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world’s largest radio telescope, involving international collaboration, including India’s participation with a financial commitment.


Major aspects of the Project:

Nature of ProjectDevelopment of the world’s largest radio telescope. Giant Metre wave Radio Telescope (GMRT) is playing a role in SKAO
Participating CountriesAustralia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands, UK (hosting headquarters)
India’s RoleIndia joined SKAO in 2012 as an Associate Member and has actively participated in the pre-construction phase of the SKA telescopes
Project ObjectiveStudy galaxies in the universe, map visible galaxies with unprecedented detail, provide data on the evolution of our galaxy, and search for signs of extra-terrestrial life, Detect Gravitational Waves
Observatory StructureSquare Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) – an intergovernmental organization headquartered in the UK. SKAO will consist of one global observatory, operating two telescopes, across three sites. Two SKA telescopes will be at radio-quiet sites in South Africa and Australia. They will operate as one large unit.
Construction PhasesTwo phases – SKA1 construction started in December 2022, with operations expected to begin by 2029
Key ActivitiesRapid scanning of the skies, detailed mapping of visible galaxies, collection of survey data for insights into the early evolution of our galaxy, and the search for extraterrestrial life