The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be one of the largest scientific projects ever undertaken. It is machine designed to answer some of the big questions of our time: what is Dark Energy? Was Einstein right about gravity? What is the nature of dark matter? Can we detect gravitational waves? When and how did the first stars and galaxies form? What was the origin of cosmic magnetism? How do Earth-like planets form? Is there life, intelligent or otherwise, elsewhere in the Universe?
There are several issues that need to be addressed before construction of the SKA can begin: What is the design for the SKA? Where will it be located? What is the legal framework and governance structure under which it will operate? What is the most cost-effective mechanism for the procurement of the various components? How will the SKA be funded?
The purpose of this project is to address all of these points. PrepSKA will integrate the R&D work from around the globe in order to develop the fully-costed design for Phase 1 of the SKA, and a deployment plan for the full instrument. With active collaboration between funding agencies and scientists, all of the options for the policy-related questions will be investigated. The principal deliverable will be an implementation plan that will form the basis of a funding proposal to governments to start the construction of the SKA.