Telescope not an easy sell amid SA’s poverty scars

IT IS a difficult sales pitch: a multibillion-dollar giant telescope used to investigate phenomena so esoteric years of study are required to understand them.

Countries planning to build large scientific infrastructure have to sell the project and its objectives to their citizens.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a good example of this. The telescope will comprise thousands of antennas that will collect relatively weak radio signals from space and use them to map and image the universe. The computing power required to process this quantity of data does not yet exist, and industry wants in. So selling the relevance of the SKA to industry is not that difficult.

The bidding to host the radio telescope came down to two contenders: Australia and SA. In 2012, it was announced that both countries had been selected.

After the excitement had died down, they needed to continue selling the project to their politicians and citizens.

For more, find the article — originally published in Business Day — here.

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