South Africa’s National Research Foundation and the Max Planck Society last week signed a collaboration agreement in respect of the MeerKAT radio telescope, a precursor of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
The SKA project is an international enterprise to build the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world.
South Africa and eight other African countries are contributing to the project, which will be located partly in Africa and partly in Australia. In Africa, the core site is near Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, which has unique geographical advantages for astronomy.
The President of the Max Planck Society, Professor Dr Martin Stratmann, has promised an investment worth €11-million in the MeerKAT, which will include receiver systems developed in Bonn. German scientists and engineers would also be involved.
Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, attended the signing at the South African Embassy in Berlin. She spoke of the good relationship between the two countries, and expressed her hope that Germany would recognise the value of investment in the SKA project.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by Dr Bernie Fanaroff, director of the SKA South Africa project, and Prof Stratmann.