UAE: 25 members of Sharjah Girl Guides attend virtual NASA-certified summer camp

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Sharjah - NASA engineer Sylvester Shanle inspires participants during interactive sessions.


Nandini Sircar

Published: Tue 17 Aug 2021, 6:11 PM

Young members of the Sharjah Girl Guides (SGG) recently learnt what it is like to live and work in space.

Girls, who are aged between 11 and 14, virtually attended a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-certified programme in Sharjah.

Altogether, 25 members of the SGG received a world-class education in space and interplanetary missions, including an insight into the regional and global significance of the UAE’s Emirates Mars Mission, at the five-day online space summer camp.

The participants got an opportunity to design and launch their own model landers, rovers, and space rockets and immerse themselves in the fascinating world of the cosmos.

A series of hands-on activities including ‘instant challenge’ sessions were designed to test problem-solving capabilities of participants, sharpen their critical thinking skills and inspire them to dive deeper into the fields of science, space and engineering.

They were also given an insight into the UAE’s ‘Hope’ or Emirates Mars Mission, when it successfully entered orbit around the Red Planet in February.

‘Hope’, the Arab world's first interplanetary probe, is providing the UAE and the global scientific community with novel data to help further humanity’s knowledge of another planet.

Dr Nidhal Guessoum, a professor of Physics at American University of Sharjah, had said, “The decision to send a probe to Mars, to send an astronaut to conduct experiments onboard the International Space Station (ISS) shows that our students don’t need to be in the West to succeed and be recognised. An individual’s diligent efforts will be seen and hailed by others elsewhere. It is a great encouragement for us all here, in the field of space and beyond.”

The thirst for knowledge of the young space enthusiasts was evident in the queries they raised during the camp.

On the concluding day of the space camp, NASA engineer Sylvester Shanle responded to each of the queries and shared several videos and stunning space images with the participants.

The landing of Curiosity rover on Mars and visuals of the majestic Sombrero or Mexican hat Galaxy; the first and only image of the black hole and its shadow; and one of the best-known pictures of the Eagle Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope highlighting three giant, gaseous columns called the ‘Pillars of Creation’ were on show.

Professor Pascale Ehrenfreund, President, International Astronautical Federation (IAF), said, “We’ve to inspire the very important young generation who are eager and there are many of them. We’ve a large percentage of young people who are coming in and this is very important for the future legacy of the space sector.”

He made the comment ahead of the 72nd International Astronautical Congress 2021, which will be hosted by Dubai in October.

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