“Square Kilometre Array” (SKA) Project

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What is the News?
 The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council held its first meeting recently. In that, the member countries approved the establishment of Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Facts:

 Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project:

  • It is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope. It is not a single telescope. It consists of an array of antennas strategically designed and set up in South Africa and Australia.
    • South Africa – host high and mid-frequency dish antennas
    • Australia – Low-frequency antennas.
  • Aim: To allow astronomers to look deeper into the universe and unravel secrets about its evolution.
  • Goals:
    • To study the universe and its evolution, origin and evolution of cosmic magnetism and dark energy and evolution of galaxies.
    • To detect very weak extra-terrestrial signals and search for molecules that support life.
  • Member Countries: South Africa, Australia, UK, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
    • Note: India’s SKA membership is currently under review with India’s Department of Atomic Energy(DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and is expected to be completed sometime this year.
  • What is Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO)?
    • SKAO is a new intergovernmental organisation dedicated to radio astronomy
    • The operation, maintenance and construction of SKA will be overseen by Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO).
    • Headquarters:  The SKAO is headquartered in the UK.
  • India’s Participation: India is participating in the project through the DAE and the DST.

Apart from that, the Pune-based TIFR-National Centre for Radio Astrophysics leads a team of researchers from different Indian institutes.

  • India’s Contributions:
    • The Indian team was among the first to submit and get the design approval of a highly sophisticated Telescope Manager (TM). The TM is also nicknamed as the “nervous system” of the SKA observatory.
    • The Indian team has been chosen to lead the construction of the TM system which will be responsible for end-to-end operations of SKAO.
    • India will also contribute towards building digital hardware for the SKA low-frequency receiver systems. India also builds the digital hardware of some parts of the mid-frequency telescopes in SKA. Apart from that, India is also producing some parts of the data processing units.

Source: Indian Express

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