Tanzania: Astronauts Envy Dar As Best Location for Space Activities

ASTRONOMICAL experts described Tanzania’s geographical positioning as the most suitable in support of space exploration activities, the opportunity that remains unexploited.

Astronomy and Space Science Association of Tanzania Chairman Dr Noorali Jiwaji, speaking at the launch of ‘Exhibition of the Battle for Stalingrad, commemorating ‘international Aviation and Cosmonautics Day’ in Dar es Salaam yesterday, equated the geographical advantage to a gold mine.

The chairman argued that the country’s position qualifies Tanzania for an installation of a space Centre. “The country’s coast location alone places it at the right position for spaceship launching.

The ocean’s coast being to the East is an advantage as space infrastructures need locations, which are close to the Eastern coasts,” Dr Jiwaji said at the University of Dar es Salaam’s (UDSM) Department of Creative Arts.

Open University of Tanzania’s (OUT) don commented, “The world rotates to the east and things like rockets-when they are launched-need to match the earth’s speed and direction and Tanzania is suitably placed to support such activities.”

Other astronomical advantage of Tanzania’s location includes being at the equator where over 90 per cent of the sky can be viewed. “If there was the station in Tanzania, people could conduct researches as a lot of things could be viewed through the sky at the same time

. It is advantageous to be at the equator where one can view the entire sky from the north to south,” he explained, adding: “From the sun rise to sun set, all can be observed at once from the equator.”

For nation, the position is more than the geographical location, it’s a resource that is not yet tapped, he asserted.

Being at the longitude is also advantageous because within the area there are only telescopes placed in the far north and others in the far south, hence there are stations for astronomy to be placed in the middle and Tanzania is highly qualified to grab the opportunity, he said.

There is a project dubbed ‘Africa Telescope’ that deals in Radio astronomy which is looking for a place to station their telescope in Africa.

“With the location our country is situated we have a geographical advantage on this as it needs high land and where the sky is seen longer.” Another advantage is having ‘dark sky’ as of recent most of rural area’s sky is lit due to human activities, he commented.

“The sky is lit by all the lights in the settlements, but having a dark sky is a treasure as it allows one to get to witness activities happening in the skies. In the villages more stars can be seen than in the rural areas because our activities have chased the dark skies away.”

There is a need to bring awareness that dark skies are to be preserved. “even as we install electricity in the villages this knowledge should be given to people that even when installing lights they should not face up, rather down as that is where the activities need it,” he advised. There are a lot of challenges, including educational, when it comes to astronomy in Tanzania.

From primary to university levels, the curriculum is shallow on astronomy training. UDSM Deputy V ice Chancellor, Academic, Professor Bonaventure Rutinwa thanked the Russian-Tanzanian Cultural Centre (RTCC) for choosing the university for celebration.

“Choosing the university to showcase the outstanding achievements of an astronaut, Y uri Gagarin, is not by accident but a demonstration of a long historical cooperation between Tanzania and Russia in education sector,” he elaborated.

RTCC Director Rifat Pateev explained that on every April 12, the entire world celebrates the Aviation and Cosmonautics Day, which honours the first ever flight of human to space.


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Publish date : 2019-04-10 10:09:34

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