Australia's SKA site
As co-host of the SKA radio telescope, Australia is home to many elements of a sophisticated observatory system that will fulfil the needs of the SKA project.
SKA antennas will be built at the purpose-established Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia. The Observatory houses the facilities necessary to operate telescope hardware in this remote region. The MRO lies at the centre of a Radio Quiet Zone that protects telescopes from radio interference that may degrade the quality of observations.
The land on which the MRO is situated is part of the ancestral lands of the Wajarri Yamatji people with whom the CSIRO maintains a productive relationship. The Australian SKA Office also consults with other Regional Stakeholders from areas close to the future site.
The MRO hosts two SKA-precursor radio telescopes: the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). These telescopes have been built and operated to develop technology and capabilities required for the deployment of the SKA in Australia and South Africa.
Existing and future telescopes at the MRO are supported by a complete infrastructure system. This system includes control facilities, fibre-optic networks and supercomputing facilities which are intended to be made available to the SKA project.
Recent environmental surveys at the SKA site are helping ensure the SKA project can mitigate any environmental impacts. The site is home to a diverse range of plants, animals and interesting geological features.