They might look like a million little Christmas trees in the desert, but this technology promises to unlock the mysteries of the universe, look back in time and even detect alien life.
Construction of the SKA Observatory (SKAO) has begun, and Australia is set to play centre stage in one of humanity's largest ever scientific endeavours.
The world's largest radio astronomy observatory is located in two sites - in remote Western Australia and South Africa.
Together, more than 131,000 antennas in Australia (SKA-Low) and almost 200 dishes in South Africa (SKA-Mid), will provide an unparalleled view of the universe, and be one of the biggest science facilities on Earth.
Australian National University Professor and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Naomi McClure-Griffiths, said SKAO will enable science to take a giant leap forward.
"It's the chance to be able to see the very first stars of the universe and when those turned on," she said.
What could SKAO detect?
The telescopes will be eight times as sensitive, be able to see the sky more clearly and will map the sky 135 times faster than comparable current telescopes.
There's also hopes it could help humans to hear intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
"If alien species were out there trying to reach out and say hello, by the time that radio signal got to Earth, it would have been so weak, we wouldn't be able to detect it. But that changes with SKAO," SKA-Low telescope director Dr Sarah Pearce said.
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Among its many science goals, SKA-Low will explore the first billion years after the so-called 'dark ages' of the universe, when the first ever stars and galaxies were forming.
It will map the structure of the infant universe for the first time, enabling scientists to watch the births and deaths of the first stars, and help to understand how the earliest galaxies formed.
"The SKA Observatory will define the next 50 years for radio astronomy, charting the birth and death of galaxies, searching for new types of gravitational waves and expanding the boundaries of what we know about the universe," Dr Pearce said.
"SKA telescopes will be sensitive enough to detect an airport radar on a planet circling a star tens of light years away, so may even answer the biggest question of all: are we alone in the universe?"
How does it work?
Radio telescopes must be located a long way from other human-made transmissions, such as TV, radio and mobile phone signals which can interfere with the relatively weak radio waves coming from space.
The SKAO will initially comprise 131,072 antennas at Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory on Wajarri Country in Western Australia, and 197 dishes in Karoo in South Africa.
In Australia, the SKAO will collaborate with CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, to build and operate the telescopes.
Advances in engineering, signal processing and computing will not only benefit the astronomy community, but Australian industry as we move further into our data-driven future.- CSIRO executive director of digital, national facilities and collections, Professor Elanor Huntington
CSIRO executive director of digital, national facilities and collections, Professor Elanor Huntington, said the benefits of the SKAO were not limited to astronomy.
"Advances in engineering, signal processing and computing will not only benefit the astronomy community, but Australian industry as we move further into our data-driven future," she said.
"The SKAO's telescopes are providing an opportunity for Australians to innovate and share with the global community. We're all coming together to not only learn more about the Universe but drive advances in data handling and signal processing."
Scientists from around the world will use SKAO. The observatory will start producing science before the end of the decade.