• Hannah Phillips

Major Upgrade Helps Prepare For World’s Largest Telescope

Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash has today launched Phase Two of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a world-leading low‑frequency radio telescope located in the Murchison Radio Quiet Zone, in Western Australia, designed to examine the origins of the universe.

Today’s launch marks a major upgrade to the telescope that brings Commonwealth investment in the project to $14.5 million.

The telescope has already collected huge volumes of astronomical data to inform scientific research since it began operations in 2013.

Minister Cash said the MWA’s upgrade capitalises on Western Australia’s pre-eminent competitive advantage in radioastronomy.

The MWA is a crucial precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a next‑generation radio telescope that will be hosted jointly by Australia and South Africa.

“The SKA will be the largest and most advanced radio telescope ever constructed and will be used by scientists from around the world to make major discoveries about the universe. Lessons learned in building and operating the MWA are vital to delivering the SKA.”

The launch was held at Curtin University on Monday morning, which operates the MWA on behalf of an international collaboration of 21 universities and research institutes from seven countries.

As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Australian Government has committed $294 million over 10 years to host the SKA.

The SKA will deliver significant economic, scientific and technological benefits.

Construction is due to begin in 2020.

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