It is the age of the nerd, indeed!
For a child not to want to be an astronaut is an aberration. We all wanted to raid galaxies far far away until we realised we can barely handle facial hair let alone the infinite cosmos. But that’s okay, we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we won’t ever land on the moon, look upon Earth from the International Space Station, or meet friendly aliens.
Our nonexistent chances are made even less by the fact that space programmes and agencies around the world are experiencing funding cuts. So as the world is about ready to give up on mankind’s aspirations to conquer space, the private sector is stepping in to save children from desk jobs.
Egyptian children aspiring to become astronauts now have a saviour, too, and he happens to be one of their own. Egyptian adventurer, future astronaut, and founder of Wild Guanabana, Omar Samra, wants to claim a piece of space to Egypt with the Fada2ak or ‘Make Space Yours’ competition programme, which will allow students across the country to contribute ideas to further space exploration.
“‘Make Space Yours’ represents a great platform to inspire youth about space science, identify and develop young talents, and eventually develop into a pillar of community outreach and dialogue among industry professionals for space experiments and innovations,” Samra said in a press release.
University students will be required to submit ideas for experiments that can be tested in zero-gravity and the winning project gets to fly to space aboard XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx II with Samra. School students who wish to participate will have to submit research papers “describing their vision of building a [space] colony or spaceships travelling to other planets and moons,” according to the press release. Winning school students will then have the chance to participate in a three-day intensive space camp organised by Wild Guanabana.
Three years in the making, the programme aims to engage university and school students in space exploration. Led by Samra, the team behind ‘Make Space Yours’ - MarsOne astronaut candidate Mohamed Sallam, Project PoSSUM scientist astronaut candidate Ahmed Farid, Astrotrips Founder and CEO Amr Abdel Wahab, and the head of The Mars Society Egypt chapter Hamed Gamal – will be touring Egyptian universities to promote the project and encourage students to register.
Powered by the Commercial International Bank and Inertia properties, and in collaboration with Injaz – which will oversee school and university outreach – and XCOR Aerospace, ‘Make Space Yours’ kicks off on November 23rd. So if you’re an aspiring astronaut and if your heart is dead set on space, this is your chance to leave your mark! There literally isn’t a better way to kickstart your career in astronomy than to have your prototype on Mars!