Ghana wants extra astronomers, astrophysicists, aerospace engineers and astronauts — methods to develop them

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Maybe while you consider scientific analysis in Africa you consider the continent’s wonderful pure assets, buried out of sight below soil or rocks. Or perhaps your thoughts goes to its historic historical past of human evolution.

However there’s one other vital, enormous expanse that’s garnering consideration amongst African researchers: the Universe. Planetary and house scientists examine our photo voltaic system. They draw from the disciplines of astronomy, Earth sciences, geology, robotics and aerospace analysis, amongst others, to know the Universe and people’ place in it.

The examine of planets and of outer house additionally helps to advance know-how. Acquainted shopper merchandise corresponding to GPS, LED lighting, wi-fi units and even reminiscence foam are all spinoff applied sciences from house analysis.

Analysis on this area provides a option to examine Earth’s atmosphere, ambiance and local weather by way of distant sensing and Earth observations corresponding to satellite tv for pc information. And it’s a possibility to discover different planets for various pure and vitality assets.

Some African international locations, like South Africa, Morocco and Senegal, have already established themselves as main gamers in planetary and house science. There have beensome pan-African makes an attempt to develop and promote planetary and house science.

For probably the most half, although, planetary and house science doesn’t garner a lot curiosity past analysis students. Many Ghanaians, for instance, don’t know concerning the nation’s rising planetary and house science group. They could not know that Ghana is residence to West Africa’s solely planetarium, or that the area’s largest pure lake, Lake Bosumtwi, was fashioned within the crater attributable to a meteorite putting Earth.

As a planetary scientist working and conducting analysis in Ghana, I feel it’s time to get extra folks on this fascinating, vital side of science – and to cement the nation’s place as a serious participant in planetary and house science. This may be a useful option to develop Ghana’s information financial system, which developed nations have harnessed to drive their financial progress.

Schooling and outreach

Step one to rising curiosity in planetary and house science is thru instructional outreach. This consists of instructional, entertaining programmes and actions in each casual and formal studying environments. Right here, Ghana might be taught from Senegal. The Senegalese Affiliation for the Promotion of Astronomy has developed a number of profitable tasks, most notably the Spacebus.

The Spacebus is a caravan that promotes astronomy and scientific tradition. It travels throughout Senegal, presenting displays and giving members of the general public entry to science kits and telescopes.

This might be replicated in Ghana. House science and planetary researchers might additionally go to colleges, conduct workshops and participate in profession gala’s to get younger folks on this form of work. The Ghana Planetarium within the capital metropolis, Accra, might play a key position right here: it already organises occasions and actions centred on robotics and astronomy, amongst others.

There’s additionally the Ghana Radio Astronomical Observatory in Kuntunse, within the Higher Accra area. Its 32-metre telescope permits it to picture distant house objects, in addition to monitoring satellites and spacecrafts. It’s already an academic centre for most people and this capability might be developed.

Getting younger folks is vital as a result of Ghana wants extra astronomers, astrophysicists, aerospace engineers, cosmochemists – and, for the particularly adventurous, astronauts. These kinds of consultants can increase the nation’s scientific information and output and this, in flip, can profit Ghana economically by way of the event of the information financial system.

Learn extra:
How the SKA telescope is boosting South Africa’s information financial system

There isn’t any information on the exact numbers of individuals working in these fields in Ghana, however in my very own expertise and primarily based on how few planetary and house science-related establishments there are within the nation, it’s clear that extra must be carried out to spice up these professions’ ranks.

A novel website

Maybe one other option to get Ghanaians engaged is to point out them how house and Earth typically work together. The nation has one of many world’s finest examples of this interplay, courting again greater than 1,000,000 years. Lake Bosumtwi is West Africa’s largest pure lake and Ghana’s solely naturally occurring inland freshwater lake. Situated about 25km south-east of Kumasi within the Ashanti area, it fills a 1.07 million 12 months outdated meteorite affect crater.

Many affect craters all over the world, together with South Africa’s Vredefort Crater, are standard vacationer points of interest. Folks go to these websites to find out about Earth’s relationship with house, asteroids and meteorites. The identical may be carried out with the Bosumtwi affect crater, making it a boon for Ghana’s tourism business – and one other option to get Ghanaians enthusiastic about planetary and house science.

Planetary and house science has change into an integral a part of the world’s growth. Ghana has the chance to construct on its present services and to seize folks’s imaginations in order that the nation can increase its contribution to world efforts.


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