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Will the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) be finished on time?

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a proposed radio-telescope more than a 50 times more sensitive than the current record holder.

With receiving stations extending out to a distance of at least 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) from a concentrated central core, it would exploit radio astronomy's ability to provide the highest resolution images in all astronomy. The SKA would be built in the southern hemisphere, with cores in South Africa and Australia, where the view of the Milky Way Galaxy is the best and radio interference at its least.

As such it is a multinational effort with, as of this writing, 11 countries contributing.

The creation of the SKA is separated into two phases:

  1. Providing ~10% of the total collecting area at low and mid frequencies by 2023 (SKA1).
  2. Completion of the full array (SKA2) at low and mid frequencies by 2030.

These huge science project often face challenges on the political, administrative, and technological level; what is planned doesn’t necessarily get built.

Will the SKA be operational before 2031?

  • Resolves positive when the Square Kilometre Array Observatory or successor organisation announces completion of the SKA (including SKA1 & SKA2).
  • Resolves negative when the SKA (including SKA1 & SKA2) doesn’t open before 2031.


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