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February 2017 - Tuning in to Space

Humans have an infinite fascination in the Universe. The world's largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), will revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos. It will be composed of tens of thousands of antennas, thousands of dishes and will generate enough data to fill 30,000 DVDs every second.

The SKA will span thousands of kilometres, spread across Australia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy (ISSA) are developing part of the software infrastructure which will make this happen.

The data generated by the antennas and dishes needs to be processed in real-time, on different types of hardware, so that scientists can then analyse and interpret it. The hundreds of thousands of components making up the SKA need to be monitored and controlled in real-time as well, such that any malfunctioning part can be replaced, making sure that the data chain is not affected as much as possible. This is not a simple task, and both custom hardware and software elements are being prototyped for this. When built this telescope will be capable of observing all the galaxies in the universe. The question remains…will SKA help us see how the universe started?

Dr Alessio Magro and Dr Andrea Demarco will talk about our quest to discover what’s out there on the 1st of February in the Cinema room at Spazju Kreattiv at St James Cavalier in Valletta at 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.15pm).

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Malta Café Scientifique thanks the STEAM project funded by the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Strategic Partnership, Sammy's by Culinary Forward Malta, St. James Cavalier for hosting this event, the University of Malta, and Malta Chamber of Scientists (of which the café forms part).

Poster thanks to Rowena Caruana.