Science Network reports, that after several years of preparation, the SKA telescope (Square Kilometer Array) will start construction on January 1, 2021.
As a founding member of the SKA, China will carry 5 of the 13 major categories of the project. These categories are in the areas of engineering technology, data processing, and time synchronization.
The SKA is the world’s largest radio telescope coming our way from the international astronomers. It consists of 2500 units 15-meter diameter dish antenna arrays for intermediate frequency, 250 dense aperture arrays, and 1.3 million logarithmic periodic antenna arrays for low frequency. The total receiving area is one square kilometer, and the entire array extends over 3000 kilometers.
The antenna research and development work package is the core work package in the SKA project. Wang Feng, the deputy director of the China Sci-Tech Office of SKA said: “Our solution is the only design of the SKA reflective antenna. Our antenna is one third lighter than similar products. The whole antenna does not exceed 40 tons, and the reflection surface has high accuracy.
Where Is Located SKA?
The SKA’s site is located in the radio-quiet areas of eight countries in Australia and South Africa. All observation instruments use high-performance computing engines and ultra-wideband connections with each other. The telescope comes with a “brain” that processes large amounts of data.
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A reflector antenna collects 22GB of data at a time. If all the data would be transmitted from Australia to China, all submarine optical cables would not be enough. Therefore, there should be a regional center reconstruction to undertake data analysis work.
Wang Qiming, the deputy director of the SKA Organizational Policy Department, said: “Shanghai is the most active one in the construction of regional data processing centers.” Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, as a domestic lead unit, has fully promoted the work of China’s SKA. The center has developed the first prototype of the SKA data processing principle.
The first batch of data will come from 2024 to 2025. The construction and initial operation of the first phase of the project will be completed in 2028.