Solar system exploration and the International Space Station are among the missions that three Emirati students will work on alongside engineers from Nasa when they join an internship programme this month. The students are the first non-Americans to take part in the US space agency's Educational Associates programme, and left for the US last night. Nine more UAE students are expected to join them this year.
They will work with engineers from Nasa and students from some of America's top universities. Shamma al Qassim, 19, will be part of a team that studies satellite data used by scientists to predict earthquakes. Hazza Bani Malek, 20, will help to analyse planetary environments, and Hamad Rajab, 21, will work on a mission that develops recycling systems for Nasa's aircraft. The head of Nasa's Ames Research Centre in California said the project would probably lead to further collaboration with the UAE on scientific research.
"Under this programme, the goodwill generated by students working side by side [with NASA scientists and researchers] will serve as a bridge between the USA and UAE, opening the doors for future collaboration in scientific research," Dr Peter Worden said in a statement. The internship programme is a collaboration between Nasa and the Arab Youth Venture Foundation, a non-profit group based in the UAE that promotes educational programmes. Mubadala is sponsoring the students.