SKA: The Square Kilometre Array
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world's largest radio telescope, with a square kilometer of collecting area. It is a joint venture by more than 10 countries including China. The SKA will use thousands of dishes and up to a million antennas that will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky thousands of times faster than any system currently in existence. The SKA will extend to at least 3000 km from a central core region. It will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and
the search for life beyond Earth.
In 2011, the NAOC signed the SKAO Membership Agreement and became an initial member of SKAO (SKA Organisation) together with six other countries that lead SKA into its Pre-construction Phase (2012-2017). In 2012, the Chinese government approved China’s participation in the SKA pre-construction phase. Currently, the SKA activities in China are supported jointly by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In 2014, "The Chinese SKA Strategy Report" and "The Chinese SKA Science Book" were updated. Chinese Astronomers have also actively contributed to the International SKA Science Book. As the training of the next generation of Chinese radio astronomers, The Chinese SKA Summer School Series have been organized every year since 2013. New Zealand and South Africa have also joined this summer school series. Currently Boththe China-Australia and China-UK Joint SKA PhD Programs are under way .
The Chinese community is playing an active role in the scientific and technical aspects of SKA.