SA to host majority of SKA: Twitter celebrates

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) of telescopes is to be split between South Africa and Australia and New Zealand. That’s according to an announcement made by the nations belonging to the SKA organisation at an airport in Amsterdam today.

The 1.5-billion Euro project has massive financial and tech implications for both countries. As we’ve previously pointed out, in order for the 3 000 radio dishes to operate effectively in real-time, they will need some pretty impressive networking and processing power.

They will, after all, be looking at the early Universe, testing Einstein’s theory of gravity and searching for alien intelligent life.

According to Memeburn columnist Rowan Puttergill:

The communications network alone will use enough optical fibre to wrap around the circumference of the earth twice over, and will carry nearly 10 times the amount of global network traffic on the Internet. From a computing perspective, the SKA central computer will have the processing power of around one-billion PCs, performing around 10^18 operations per second.

Although most view the decision to split the array between the competing countries as the best possible outcome, others weren’t so sure.

Some expressed disappointment that the rivalry between South Africa and its Australasian counterparts (which has played out so often on the sports field) ended in what they felt was a tame draw.

When news came that South Africa had been awarded the lion’s share of the array however, celebrations went into full swing:

Some were, however, still bitter:

Puns around the array’s abbreviation and the musical genre Ska abounded:

Whatever the result, the mere fact that something like SKA is being built is a victory for geeks everywhere.



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