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High-level visit at the South African SKA site

MeerKAT antenna on site in South Africa's Karoo.

MeerKAT antenna on site in South Africa’s Karoo.

Over the weekend the Deputy President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa visited the South African Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape. He was hosted by the South African Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor.

The visit also included other ministers as well as senior officials from the South African Departments of Trade and Industry, International Relations and Cooperation, Public Works, and Tourism. The ambassador of the United States also took part in the visit, along with the Consul General of the United Kingdom.

The visit was arranged to mark the completion of MeerKAT’s second antenna on-site. When completed in 2017, MeerKAT – a precursor to the SKA – will count 64 antennas and will be the world’s largest radio telescope until the SKA comes online in 2020.

“The Square Kilometre Array project is a truly global undertaking.” declared the Deputy President of South Africa in his address. “[having the SKA co-hosted in Africa] promises to establish Africa as a hub for expanding scientific inquiry.”

“The idea of a sky shared by all humanity is integral to the international science and engineering collaboration that is the SKA project. Science knows no borders. Knowledge is the preserve of no nation.”

The Deputy President’s integral speech can be found here.

Following their visit, dignitaries took to Twitter to express their enthusiasm at visiting the South African SKA site.