14 May 2009

Funds For The Stars Of Radio Astronomy

Australia has been shortlisted by the international science community as one of two potential locations for the SKA.

by Staff Writers
Perth, Australia (SPX) May 14, 2009

Australia's position as a world leader in radio astronomy has been strengthened with the announcement in the Federal Budget of $80million of funds for the Australian National Centre for SKA (Square Kilometre Array) Science in Perth.

More sensitive than existing radio telescopes, the $3bn SKA will be one of the largest and most ambitious international science projects ever. Australia has been shortlisted by the international science community as one of two potential locations for the SKA.

The Australian Government along with the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), the Western Australia Government and several universities are working together to maximise Australian participation in the SKA. To support Australia's bid to host the SKA they are establishing Australia's candidate core site in Western Australia and building the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP).

"The computing requirements for the SKA are beyond anything which exists in the world today," CSIRO SKA Director Professor Brian Boyle said.

"Advances in high performance computing will be required. The National Centre will be a world-class centre for high-performance computing."

"The National Centre will increase the scientific output of ASKAP and will significantly enhance the astronomy community's ability to exploit the enormous volume of ASKAP data, through state-of-the-art data analysis, archiving and retrieval techniques.

"This announcement also provides CSIRO with a valuable opportunity to accelerate the deployment of its own capability in Western Australia to support radio astronomy operations and science.

"It will contribute to the SKA by addressing some of its major technological challenges. It will advance Australia's SKA bid by demonstrating that the kind of cutting-edge facilities needed for the SKA can be developed and operated in Australia."

CSIRO's contributions to the SKA Science Centre will initially focus on the development and operations of the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP), positioning it to grow into an SKA science centre should Australia be identified as the host for the SKA project.

CSIRO will collaborate with partners to further build capability in the scientific exploitation of the huge volumes of data produced by ASKAP and ultimately the SKA, and in the technological innovation required to analyse, store and access those data.

Taken from: SPACE DAILY (as you have noticed, the original is written in British English)

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