The Square Kilometer Array is truly an incredible project and I can’t wait to see what it produces in a decade or so. It’s also a huge boon to Australia and South Africa in particular, bringing both huge economical and scientific rewards to them. The breadth of its uses sounds like something from a sci-fi novel or computer game:
The SKA will map precisely the positions of the nearest billion galaxies. The structure they trace on the cosmos should reveal new details about “dark energy”, the mysterious negative pressure that appears to be pushing the Universe apart at an ever-increasing speed.
The telescope will also detail the influence of magnetic fields on the development of stars and galaxies. And it will zoom in on pulsars, the dead stars that emit beams of radio waves that sweep across the Earth like super-accurate time signals.
Astronomers believe these dense objects may hold the key to a more complete theory of gravity than that proposed by Einstein.