GS Paper - 3 (Science and Technology)

SWITZERLAND HAS become the eighth country to join the intergovernmental founding nations that will collaborate in building the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), to be built in Australia and South Africa, led by the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.

What

  1. The SKAO is the proposed largest radio telescope that is expected to be operational for carrying out observations by the early 2030s.
  2. Upon being operational by 2029, the SKAO will generate astronomical data measuring 700 Petabytes, annually.
  3. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, the SKAO will be an array of 197 dishes located in South Africa and 1, 31,072 antennas in Western Australia and operate within the 50 MegaHertz – 15.3 GigaHertz frequency range.
  4. The estimated cost of building the SKAO, during 2021 – 2029, is approximately 2 billion Euros.
  5. India, at present, is a participating member but is waiting to officially become a full member and the proposal for the same is pending with the Union government.
  6. Becoming a full member will mean the disclosure of funds to be contributed towards the mega science project.
  7. Along with the three host countries, Switzerland joins the founding member-nations Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, France and China.
  8. In December last year, the Federal Council approved Swiss membership to SKAO and the country’s parliament agreed to fund the project.