2021-08-31

China Square Kilometer Array Radio Telescope (SKA) officially launched

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China Square Kilometer Array Radio Telescope (SKA) officially launched

The meeting notified the progress of China’s participation in SKA, and released the “China SKA White Paper”, introducing the development concept and practice of China’s participation in SKA. And the policy measures to do a good job in the implementation of SKA.

It is reported that SKA is a synthetic aperture array consisting of a large number of small element antennas that stretches for thousands of kilometers. It combines excellent performance such as large field of view, high sensitivity, high resolution, and wide frequency range. Its scientific research The goals include how the first generation of celestial bodies were formed, the formation and evolution of galaxies, the nature of dark energy, the cosmic magnetic field, the nature of gravity, life molecules and extraterrestrial civilization, etc.

It is worth noting that the breakthrough of any of the above problems will be a major revolution in natural science. Its revolutionary design also means an unimaginable amount of information and data, which overturns the traditional research methods of radio astronomy and brings new ideas to the innovative research of radio astronomy.

The reporter learned that at the beginning of 2021, the Square Kilometer Array Observatory was established and officially operated, with its headquarters in the UK and telescope sites in Australia and South Africa. In July 2021, the SKA Observatory started the construction of the telescope, and SKA officially entered the construction stage.

As the initiator, advocate, and developer of SKA, China is an indispensable force in the construction of SKA. In March 2019, on behalf of the Chinese government, the Ministry of Science and Technology signed the “Convention on the Establishment of Square Kilometer Array Observatory” (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention”) to join the first phase of SKA in Rome, Italy, together with Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and other countries Become a founding member of the SKA Observatory International Organization; in the same period, the State Council approved the establishment of SKA special project by the Ministry of Science and Technology. In April 2021, the 28th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress approved the Convention, and President Xi Jinping signed the letter of ratification. According to the “Convention”, my country has officially become a member of the Square Kilometer Array Observatory from June 26, 2021, and China’s participation in SKA has entered a new stage.

According to reports, since 2013, China has established an international work package alliance with superior scientific research units in more than ten countries to jointly participate in the design and development of the SKA construction preparation phase. After years of technical research, some of our R&D teams have achieved a technological leap from following and leading the way. In 2017, they were successfully elected as the chairman of the reflector antenna international working package alliance. At the same time, they participated in low-frequency aperture arrays, signal and data transmission, and science. Research and development of international work packages such as data processing.

Based on the international layout of the future scientific research direction of SKA, combined with the domestic research foundation in the field of radio astronomy, the country has gradually established China’s SKA “2+1” scientific goal, and selected “Using neutral hydrogen to explore the universe” Dawn and reionization, detection of gravitational waves through pulsars, and precise inspection of general relativity” are the key directions, and other advantageous areas are special directions. In 2020, the first batch of 7 domestic supporting R&D projects of the SKA special project will be launched.

Academician Wu Xiangping, chief scientist of SKA in China, said that China’s radio astronomy strategy is based on single-caliber FAST domestically, while internationally participating in SKA interferometric arrays. The primary scientific goal of SKA1 (SKA Phase 1) is to reveal the first batch of light celestial bodies born in the universe, as well as pulsar search and gravitational theory testing.

Wu Xiangping said that SKA1 will bring revolutionary scientific discoveries and subvert our understanding of the universe. But today, the biggest challenge for SKA science in China is how to transform observational data into scientific discoveries.

Wang Zhigang said that the ratification of the SKA Observatory Convention represents China’s highest commitment to participating in the SKA international scientific project. Build SKA. He emphasized that the international big science plan and big science engineering have become important global public products in the field of science and technology innovation in the world and an important cooperation platform to enhance the country’s innovation capabilities. my country has actively participated in many international big science plans and big sciences including SKA. The project has achieved a series of fruitful results.

Wang Zhigang pointed out that we must fully grasp the excellent opportunities to participate in SKA, continuously improve domestic research capabilities in related fields, accumulate international scientific work management experience, and strengthen exchanges and cooperation with international scientific colleagues, and strive to Do more high-level work in the advocacy, promotion, and formulation of major scientific and technological issues and rules, and make due contributions to the promotion of scientific and technological innovation in the international society.