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Is There Life Out There?

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Explained: Why The World’s Biggest Telescope Will Span Two Countries, 131,072 Antennas And 197 Dishes

Are you ready for one of “the great scientific adventures of the coming decades”?

Jamie Carter Forbes;

Construction of the largest and most complex radio telescope network in the world officially began today in what is being described as a “historic moment for radio astronomy.”

Designed to help astronomers answer some of astronomy’s most fundamental questions, the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) was today given the go-ahead at its first council meeting at its headquarters at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire in the UK. Jodrell Bank is home to the Lovell Telescope, the world’s third-largest steerable radio telescope.

SKA is going to cost $2.2 billion—and it’s going to change astronomy.

What is radio astronomy?

It’s the study of the sky in radio frequencies. Stars, galaxies and other cosmic phenomena emit —waves of light. Visible light is electromagnetic radiation, and are radio waves, gamma rays, X-rays, and infrared. So to get a full picture of what’s out there astronomers need to use radio telescopes to detect and amplify radio waves from space.

What is the SKA?

A true “mega-science” project for the 21st-century, the SKA is astonishing in its scope. So vast, in fact, that it will see radio receivers installed on two continents and take a decade to construct.

The hardware will be built far from human-made electronics or machines that emit radio waves.

In Karoo in South Africa’s Northern Cape, 197 parabolic radio antennae—better known as “dishes”—will be built, each 50 feet/15 meters in diameter. The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has already built 64 of them.

Meanwhile, deep in the Western Australian outback at Murchison, a staggering 131,072 6.5 feet/2 meters tall low-frequency aperture array telescopes will be built.

That will create a collecting area spanning two continents allowing the detection of very faint radio signals.

Why not just one massive dish? That’s not practical, so astronomer use something called interferometry—lots of smaller antennas connected by optical fiber to create a “virtual” telescope called an array. The result is greater sensitivity and finer resolution.

How sensitive will SKA be?

The SKA will have a total collecting area of well over one square kilometer—hence the name—making it by far the largest radio telescope array ever constructed.

The SKA will be so sensitive that it would be able to detect an airport radar on a planet tens of lights years away, according to the SKAO.

It’s hoped that the SKA’s sheer size and sensitivity will reveal many more radio galaxies—and revolutionise our understanding of how galaxies evolve.

It’s also hoped that the SKA will be able to map dark energy, find every pulsar in our galaxy and pick-up any signals from intelligent life.

How important is SKA?

“This is a historic moment for radio astronomy”, said Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, appointed first Chair of the SKAO Council. “Behind today’s milestone, there are countries that had the vision to get deeply involved because they saw the wider benefits their participation in SKAO could bring to build an ecosystem of science and technology involving fundamental research, computing, engineering, and skills for the next generation, which are essential in a 21st century digital economy.”

Many countries are financing the SKAO; Australia, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom. France, Germany, Spain and Sweden are aspiring members.

“This is one of the mega-science facilities of the 21st century,” said said Prof. Philip Diamond, appointed first Director-General of SKAO. “It is the culmination of many years of work … this is about participating in one of the great scientific adventures of the coming decades.”

9 COMMENTS

  1. Yes there most probably is life out there. Intelligent life, that is.

    I think that intelligent life forms are constantly exploring and they have almost certainly visited our Earth on several occasions. There are so many historical accounts from many cultures that mention ‘gods’ who fly around on winged chariots and so on that it’s impossible (I think) to discount the hypothesis that we have been visited many times in the past.

    A lot of these supernatural fables mention that the ‘gods’ left for some reason but will be back. This screams out ‘space exploration’ to me. They most probably monitor the development of intelligence and civilisation on a whole list of planets on which they find life, on an ongoing basis.

    The pyramids (and other structures) were built using anti gravity and some sort of laser-like cutting technology that we can only guess at even now. Probably done on a weekend actually. The idea was to leave an unmissable message for humanity that there is intelligent life out there.

    Slerkel, the project director stood back with Kor his engineer mate just before they left and, clapping his antennae, Slerkel said “There. They won’t be able to miss THAT! Good work, Kor. Now let’s piss off. We’ve got a lot on for the next few thousand years.” And guess what? Human DID miss it. We invented a story that the pyramids were built by humans for burying Pharaohs in, FFS!

    Anyway the existence of interstellar radiation fields probably means that aliens are more likely to be intelligent robots than biological life forms because of the risks involved. We have even factored this problem into our own plans to explore Mars and we’ve already worked out that it’s easier to send unmanned exploration ‘vehicles’ (robots on wheels) instead of humans.

    Slerkel and Kor will be following this with interest, I’m sure. But when it all gets a bit too slow moving and a little boring there’s always the BidenTrudeauArdern show to give them a good laugh.

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    • “They most probably monitor the development of intelligence and civilisation on a whole list of planets”

      After what the stupid Earthlings have done to them selves this past year, I think they will be shaking their heads and saying “How fucking stooopid are they down there.They call themselves intelligent?”
      “Fuck them, lets come back in another 1000 years and see how they have fucked up even more”

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      • Yes Ed. On a serious note I think you’re quite probably right.

        It’s also possible that this whole Covid bullshit is the result of our own Artificial Intelligence gone rogue (think ‘computer modelling’ that yields idiotic Armageddon scenarios and ‘vaccines’ that are really DNA experiments) and we stupid humans are dutifully buying into the fantasy.

        However try saying this in conversation and people would think you’re crazy. But what other explanation is there for a whole worldwide civilisation suddenly trying to destroy itself?

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        • on a less serious note:
          ‘the result of our own Artificial Intelligence gone rogue (think ‘computer modelling’ that yields idiotic Armageddon scenarios’

          …Skynet begins to learn rapidly and eventually becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m., EDT, on August 29, 1997
          It’s just it joined the Teachers union and only got around to causing Chaos in 2020 !!

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      • So they were built by hand using huge 100 ton stones brought by barge from miles away and cut to geometric perfection using copper and iron tools?

        Hahaha! I’ve got a nice bridge for sale. Hardly been used. Offers?

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  2. Fascintating stuff but to be honest its a fucking horrendous waste of time money and resources to achieve sweet fuck all. We cant sort out life on earth so i see no point in trying to find life at the other end of the universe.

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