NASA's first non-U.S. citizens to work as interns are Emiratis, the UAE-based The National newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Interested in bringing the knowledge to their home country, Shamma al-Qassim, 19, a student at the American University of Sharjah, will be applying her studies in satellite thermal data analysis to predict earthquakes through the detection of stresses in the Earth’s crust.
Her job is to download and examine satellite images as stresses are detected. The stress taking place in the earth’s crust works to increase temperature and this will show up in her satellite’s data report.
“When we come back, remote sensing has so many applications and we can use it in monitoring temperature fluctuations, detecting surface water, and it just has so many different things that you can use for research,” she said.
“The possibilities are almost unlimited.”
Although severe earthquakes are uncommon in the UAE, she said the technology and techniques had other applications for the country.
Rajab Hamad, 21, Engineering major from UAE University has his project beneficial to the UAE’s arid climate woes, as he journeys to develop a system that can process hygienic water for use in future manned Mars and Moon Missions.
Having already designed the electrical control system and worked on programming the sensors used in water tanks, he is now developing a wireless network that can transfer data from the sensors to the control system.
Hamad’s project will aim to reduce potable water consumption in Nasa missions by about 50 per cent, and with zero net energy consumption as solar photovoltaic panels are going to be used, which will also dramatically reduce maintenance costs.
“I would love to bring the technology back to the UAE. I look for two main things: saving the environment and sustaining the economy,” he said.
In the UAE, this will translate in reducing the amount of wasted water that is being dumped, and slashing the amount of money spent on desalination systems.
Desalination is extensively used in the UAE, and in the GCC region, and it is not only an expensive method to purifying water, but it has negative environmental drawbacks.
And from Ras al-Khaimah, Hazza Bani Malek, 20, a Higher Colleges of Technology student, is working on an automation system for moderating temperature and pressure.
His task is to analyze the code in the automation systems, fix any of its shortcomings, and then implement it in sensors and electronic devices like gates and valves.
One simple application of the system is in conveyor belts at supermarkets, said Bani Malek, which operate according to the location of goods on the belt.
While the students continue their education and gain more knowledge in the high-tech environment of the Ames Research Center in northern Californi, traditions and religion are never forgotten.
“Everything is available,” said Malek.
“We have halal food and whenever we want to do prayers I just ask my mentor for a break. It’s not a big deal.