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  • Updated: September 20, 2022

NASRDA, Scientists Call For Continuous Space Weather Monitoring

NASRDA, Scientists Call For Continuous Space Weather Monitor

To reduce weather-related accidents, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and several scientists advised continual space weather monitoring.

They announced their decision at the ongoing International Colloquium on Equatorial and Low Latitude Ionosphere hosted by the NASRDA's Centre for Atmospheric Research (CAR-NASRDA).

The Institute of Space-Earth Environmental Research at Nagoya University in Japan, the African Geophysical Society (AGS), and the Network of Space-Earth Environmentalists are co-organizing the colloquium, a week-long event.

The colloquium would support capacity building in space weather research in the equatorial region, according to Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, Director, CAR-NASRDA.

“Nigeria falls within the equatorial region which is a very complex region in the space environment.

“We have lots of assets, our satellites are located in the space environment and this colloquium is focusing on the health of that environment.

“It is also promoting research in a field that has a lot of effect on the nation including economic and our everyday activities.

“If the space environment is chaotic or having problems, those services can be affected and if the space environment is not healthy, we can lose expensive satellites in space,’’ he said.

He asserts that the centre's primary duties are to offer space weather services and inform the whole community on developments pertaining to its research fields.

“We are updating our knowledge, transferring new technologies, creating new research paths for people and promoting international competitive research.

“If we don’t monitor the space environment, we are at big global risk because all the space-dependent services can be shut down within a moment.

“All the Google navigation services we use depend on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), so if we don’t do this, we navigate in the wrong direction.

“A greater percentage of Africa is now using space-dependent technologies, satellites communication systems, navigation systems, the transport services, hence the need to monitor our space weather,’’ Rabiu said.

Dr Olufemi Agboola, provost of the Institute of Space Science and Engineering, expressed his outrage about the usage of space weather data by several equatorial African nations.

“There are some things that happen in the sky between the sun, the moon and the planet and most of the European countries are not situated along the equator.

“We normally use data from European countries in flying aeroplanes, and they don’t have anything to do with the equator.

“We are now advancing in space science technology so we must study the equator ourselves so that we can use the data to solve our problem,’’ he said.

Tributes to Patricia Doherty, a Director and Senior Research Scientist at Boston College's Institute for Scientific Research, were among the day's highlights.

Doherty is a pioneer in the study of space weather, the ionosphere, and its effects on global positioning satellite systems (GNSS).

Doherty's efforts, according to AGS President Prof. Olivier Obru, have offered African scientists a platform from which to conduct space weather research.

Obru urged scientists to build on her initiatives in order to improve GNSS performance.

Prof. Sandro Radicella, a researcher from Boston College, praised the late scientist and said that her contributions might help the field of space weather research advance.

To continue Doherty's legacies, Yenca Orue of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, urged female scientists.

Prof. Elijah Oyeyemi, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Lagos, and others also paid their respects.

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