Discussion in 'Science' started by 007*, Jul 10, 2011.
oooo now we have a reason to get the NBN?
The SKA is a pretty amazing bit of technology. Some of the facts are hard to believe, but probably true.
It would be nice for Australia to get it (it would be a far easier trip for me to go see it), but even if south africa got it, its a great thing for astronomy anyway.
This is a wonderful project (ditto with the LHC) and it's wonderful seeing funding go into something like this to further knowledge and understanding.
Any easy way to keep up with our bid progress? Is South Africa and us the only two campaigning for it ?
Either way it will be awesome. Also agree with the LHC, damn that is a kool machine/project.
I watched something on TV about this SKA, a couple of months ago I think. Maybe it was landline or something like that. Sounds impressive!
I hope Australia gets it, even if I don't properly understand it
Gonna read up on that link posted, see if I can't learn something!
How much juice will that sucker need?
I wonder if the CO2 tax will discourage it being built here
South Africa's bid site (www.ska.ac.za) gets much more traffic than Australia's (www.ska.gov.au). Not exactly scientific but it indicates that South Africa is getting more publicity.
My bet is on South Africa because they are a much more affordable place to do business, and their government and people have a greater respect for science (they recently established their own space agency).
Actions speak louder than words, and our government is unwilling to fund what little scientific infrastructure we already have (eg: the synchrotron). This probably hasn't gone unnoticed.
Yeah epic fail with AU with that
The main thing is it gets built. Where is secondary.
Actually uses a completely separate fibre network, but if we tell people that this and the NBN will make rainbows shoot out of their cat's arse, then I am all for it ^^
Yup, those facts are true To be perfectly honest, some of them aren't true simultaneously (for example, you can't have the quoted field of view and high resolution simultaneously), but they are still correct on their own.
If you want to keep up to date, follow the SKA page or the ICRAR page, and I am pretty sure both have mailing lists. Otherwise, bug me with PM's when I am lazy and not posting here, since I work at ICRAR ^^
A lot, and no, respectively
The SKA site will actually be mostly self sufficient in terms of power, but remember that dishes are passive listeners. The power requirements are for things like the cryo pumps and the computers that run it. All in all, power requirements aren't anything close to something like the synchrotron or even your average industrial microscopy lab.
First of all, it isn't SOUTH Africa, it is SOUTHERN Africa. The SKA is so much bigger than people realise, and it is not just one site but hundreds of nodes of telescopes working as an interferometer. The problem with Southern Africa is that it is not one country but MANY countries, each of which has its own geopolitical problems and lack of infrastructure. The big push for Southern Africa is a humanitarian push that goes something along the lines of "Oh, if we build it there then we HAVE to look after the starving children, isn't that convenient "
Not to say that feeding the starving children isn't a noble endeavour, but it shouldn't be the reason behind building this huge scientific project there.
Also, just need to point out, the "poor Australian taxpayer" doesn't have to fork out for the SKA. It is funded by a consortium of international research institutions; it is just being built here.
Also also, the SKA site is only one of several publicity sites we have for the Australian bid. Also check out ICRAR.
(To be fair though, we aren't doing the best publicity, and I have moaned about this in another thread)
This! A thousand times, this! I just want to get on with my research ^^
Like us, the region of South Africa has a lack of infrastructure. But unlike us they are not among the world's most expensive places to do business. If we sucker the SKA into moving to Australia, they'll have a supernova when they realise how much contractors charge or how high living costs are in this part of the world. They might just decide it's cheaper to build Africa's infrastructure for them, from scratch.
Setting up a large scientific project in a nation obsessed with raw resource extraction is risky for multiple reasons. The resources curse is inflating costs as already mentioned. And what if iron ore reserves were discovered beneath the site, would our government kill the SKA as it has other inconvenient research endeavors?
I'm sure the Australian government will be relieved. The SKA management may not appreciate scientific freeloaders though.
I wonder if political security will play a part in deciding where it is built.
With something as sensitive as the SKA in terms of what it can do, would you risk putting it somewhere politically unstable or with a rather dubious security record?
I dont want to toot Australias horn compared to Southern Africa but as an external observer from the safety and protection of the facility I would prefer it built here.
We might be more expensive to build here, but we are also more skilled and more stable. For example, in the Murchison range where the SKA is being built, there are no gangs that strip down the phone lines for their copper. There are no political upheavals, no tribe wars, and no spreading dissent courtesy of the successful uprising of Egypt (and hopefully soon, Libya).
It debatable whether our workforce is more skilled where it matters. South Africa is at least in our league, maybe ahead thanks to their recent investments in science.
Re: political turmoil; most of the African nations involved are peaceful democracies, and South Africa (where the bulk of work will be done) has a record of hosting large projects successfully.
We may not have any revolutions in Australia, but our politicians do have a habit of changing decisions as often as they change their underwear. If iron ore or gas was discovered within RF interference range of the proposed WA site, do you think our government would forgo that revenue for the sake of a few European eggheads? I think Gillard would call in the bulldozers faster than you can say China's quarry.
This is only partially true. Look at the two proposals geographically.
The important thing for interferometry (which is what the SKA is, an interferometer) is that you have a good mix of long and short baselines. A baseline is the distance and orientation between any two telescopes. A long baseline will give you high resolution in the fine detail, and a short baseline will give you good large-scale detail. You need both of them in order to create an image. The angle the baseline runs through determines where in the UV* plane you are able to cover. If you have too few baselines, or baselines that are too similar, then your image will be missing information in some areas.
Comparisons of the form the SKA will take in both scenarios (ANZ and Africa) show you that Australias bid has a MUCH better UV* coverage, and a greater number of baselines overall. In Southern Africa there are big areas that cannot be utilised due to politics.
As for our mining resources, we are struggling to fill the positions in the mines we have. There are engineer shortages, and a whole heap of unqualified engineers already filling positions that would usually go to more experienced people. The jobs that will be created by the SKA are varied and numerous, from engineers to astrophysicists (like me), and not to mention support staff. It is also a massive boost for our "green" economy, as the SKA will be mostly powered through "green" energy sources. When we win the bid, the land around Murchison is locked away, and the mining companies simple cannot do anything about that. Rather than digging up the ground and selling it to China, why can't we be proud of an ambitious, brand new technological frontier that brings us back into league with the rest of the world.
Just one quick thing as well, please don't call us "Eggheads", scientists are people too ^^
*UV is not ultraviolet in this case, it is the fourier plane where the image is formed.
Hahaha you Eggheads crack me up
Definitely a good nation building project and the scientific results should be amazing. It is a bit of a pity that CSIRO contracted out the manufacturing and installation out to a Chinese company for the pathfinder (ASKAP) project. Will be even more of a pity if Australia gets the full SKA and we contract out the manufacturing and installation to same company when surely we have the expertise to do it locally. The other thing CSIRO will have to deal with is hiring maintenance staff in direct competition with the mines like the over the horizon radar at laverton. The current enterprise agreement doesn't have the flexibility to pay >100k a year for technical and engineering staff.
Definately improves our chances according to the CSIRO.
National Broadband Network a huge boost to our bid to land the $2.5 billion SKA project, says CSIRO
Almost fell off my chair when I saw this pro-NBN article on news.com.au.
Not to mention proof that it can be done on time, and on budget, with the ASKAP pathfinder telescope already built
The upside is you just might get a guy who cares about the project, and not just $$. I'm sure that could be a big plus in some, hopefully rare but crucial situations