21 Apr 2012

Telescope project could be split

5:58 am on 21 April 2012

The world's largest telescope may end up being operated jointly by African nations and Australia and New Zealand.

The $2.5 billion Square Kilometre Array will be a configuration of thousands of satellite dishes, wired together to explore distant parts of the universe.

Australia and New Zealand are jointly bidding for the facility to be located in Australia and New Zealand, against an African consortium led by South Africa.

The organisation in charge of building it is exploring possibilities to use both locations for the telescope, which has the processing power of about one-hundred million computers.

SKA head John Wormersley says it would make sense scientifically to split the project between the competing nations.