11 Mar 2012

NZ could miss out on giant telescope facility - reports

12:33 pm on 11 March 2012

New Zealand could lose out to South Africa for the Square Kilometre Array - a huge radio telescope facility being planned to probe the universe, according to media reports.

Australia and New Zealand are jointly bidding for the facility to be located in Western Australia, but it is reported that a panel of advisers favours a site in South Africa.

The telescope will be able to discover hundreds of times more galaxies than current radio telescopes and in just a day, it will be able to generate more information than currently exists in all of the world's radio astronomy archives, the ABC reports.

The project is thought to be worth $NZ2.5 billion.

However, Western Australia's science minister John Day believes the trans-Tasman bid is still in with a good chance.

"Australia and New Zealand and Western Australia are still very much in the game and there's a lot of negotiations and discussions going on at an international level.

"There's a lot of questions to be asked, a lot of issues to be tested and we need to see what the outcome of all of that process is."

A decision on the location is expected in April.