Chinese engineers have built the first Square Kilometer Array (SKA) medium-frequency antenna, or “square kilometer array,” marking a significant step toward building the world’s largest array of radio telescopes.
The antenna was installed at a test site in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province, on Wednesday. The achievement attests to China’s leading role in providing the main installation and antenna solution for the SKA.
The SKA is a network of thousands of radio antennas of various types and sizes located in various locations across western Australia and southern Africa. It will have much greater sensitivity and search speed than any other radio instrument developed to date.
The first antenna will lay the technical foundation for the SKA’s 64 medium-frequency antenna arrays, which will be developed by institutions in China, South Africa and Italy.
The project’s scientific goals include studying the formation of the first light-emitting objects in the universe, the nature of dark energy, the cosmic magnetic field and gravity, as well as the search for molecules of life and even extraterrestrial civilization.