Inspiring the young to know more about space

KUCHING: The younger generation needs more exposure to the field of space exploration so that they could understand the subject better, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) vice-chancellor Prof Dr Khairuddin Hamid said yesterday.

SHARING: Owen (left) relating his experience to the crowd. Also seen are Mario (second right) and Richard.

He said although there was a booming interest in the field since Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the country’s first astronaut in 2007, he was concerned the enthusiasm might fade once the hype was over.

As such, he called for continuous programmes on the subject so that the younger generation would be inspired to learn more about the field and its benefits to mankind.

He believed that through such efforts, the country could one day be the regional centre for space exploration and achieve greater progress in science and technological area.

“I really hope that with the exposure to science, technologies and the future of space travel, we can increase the interest among Malaysians.

“With advanced and modern science and technological expertise here in Malaysia, it is not impossible to promote our country as a possible hub for research and education on space technologies,” he said when speaking during the ‘Campus Space Walk’ talk at Unimas near here.

Three astronauts from the United States, father and son Owen Garriot and Richard Garriot, and Mario Runco Jr were invited for the talk held in connection with the XXIII Planetary Congress of Association of Space Explorers (ASE).

The talk was attended by students of Unimas and selected schools.

Owen, who went to Skylab in 1973 and Spacelab-1 in 1983, was the first of six scientist astronauts selected by Nasa, and he operated the world’s first amateur radio station from space.

Richard on the other hand was not qualified to become an astronaut, according to Nasa, but paid US$30 million and became the sixth space tourist.

A video game developer and entrepreneur, Richard took part in several education outreach programmes during his time at the SOYUZ TMA-13 in October 2008 and operated an amateur radio operator from the International Space Station (ISS).

Mario, who went to STS-44 Atlantis in 1991, STS-54 Endeavour 1003 and STS-77 Endeavour in May 1996 spent most of his space journey attending numerous experiments such as earth observation experiments, radiation monitoring experiments and life sciences experiments in support of long duration space flights.

The ASE congress in Kuala Lumpur was the first to be held in Malaysia and the second after Japan.

ASE, which was formed in 1985, has 350 members and it aims at providing a forum for dialogue and to promote education on space science and technology.

by Saiful Bahari. Posted on October 8, 2010, Friday

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