In an interview with Reuters, the leaders of the project said they hope the array will help to answer some of the biggest questions about the formation and make-up of the universe.
“For me, one of the most exciting questions is what is the universe made of,” said John Womersley, Chair of the Board of Directors of the SKA organisation. “We know that 5 pct of universe is made of atoms but what about the dark matter and other stuff that makes up 95 pct of the universe?
“Connecting to discoveries from the Large Hadron Collider, we will get a consistent picture of what the universe is made of.”
The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator and is testing some of the most basic theories in physics by smashing particle beams together to simulate the conditions in the universe a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.
Michiel van Haarlem, Director General of the group, said the telescope’s capabilities will expand over time.
“In stage one, finding out about the first stars and galaxies that formed in the universe, pulsars and gravitational radiation. Then in the second stage the role of magnetic fields in the formation of galaxies and looking for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life) type things.”
The Britain-based consortium behind the telescope includes Canada, China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom as well as Australia and South Africa.