16 Jun 2010

NZ in joint bid for world's largest radio telescope

11:16 am on 16 June 2010

New Zealand and Australia have made a joint bid to have the world's largest radio telescope built in the two countries.

The telescope, called the Square Kilometre Array, will be capable of detecting some of the first galaxies and stars formed in the universe.

The Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Wayne Mapp, who has been at a bid presentation in Amsterdam, says the strongest competition for the project is coming from South Africa.

He says however that this part of the world has less radio interference than South Africa, because fewer people live here.

A quiet radio zone is crucial when trying to receive faint signals from billions of light years away, Dr Mapp says.