The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be a €1.5-billion project that pushes the boundaries of modern science. The SKA will be 50-100 times more sensitive and 10,000 times faster than any current telescope. It will include 3,000 antennas, each consisting of a 12 to 15-metre diameter dish, spread across nine African countries, though most of them will be in the Karoo area of the Northern Cape Province. This instrument will detect gravitational waves in order to explore the edges of our universe unlocking answers to questions before deemed unattainable. Scientists’ main focus for this development are to explore the origins of galaxies, the Big Bang, dark matter, and dark energy. The Square Kilometre Array will allow African scientists to make significant contributions to the fields of astrophysics, astrobiology, and many more starting in the year 2022.
The SKA will obviously be a massive development in the field of astronomy, but its true impact could go even further. The SKA represents a changing in the landscape of scientific Africa. For the longest time, African countries have lagged behind countries like the United States in terms of scientific innovation. The SKA will contribute significantly to the closing of this gap by drawing scientists from many countries, benefiting local universities in South Africa. According to Reed Elsevier, the number of scientific papers produced by Africans has tripled in the past decade. The SKA will stand as a symbol for all the progress Africa has made, and will be a catalyst for all that is yet to come.