A new space industry is gaining ground in Ghana, where scientists at the country’s first university space science laboratory hope to study astronomy as well as down-to-earth pollution and mining issues.
The All Nations University College’s laboratory will use its meteorological instruments to share climate readings with NASA, adding to the global climate database. Today, Motherboard ran an article detailing their efforts, as well as the challenges faced by researchers working without some of the technology that could bring them even further into the global space science community.
Interest in space has been growing in the African nation. The Ghana Space Science and Technology Centre was founded by the government of Ghana in 2011, and the All Nations University College launched a small CanSat sensor, which was tethered to a weather balloon, in 2013. Several other universities and organizations have their eyes to the sky.
The Centre hopes to launch a satellite into space by 2020, as part of a deferral plan to make strides in space.
That satellite will also be used to study the Earth.
“[In] Ghana, for example, illegal mining is destroying our environment,” Godfred Frempong, chief scientist at Ghana’s Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, told Motherboard. “So if we have a satellite we can use it to pinpoint where activity is going on.”
This can help people react to or prevent climate disasters, such as a June 2015 flood that killed at least 25 people in the capital city. The climate data can also help people who work in agriculture – as almost half of the population does – decide how best to farm and irrigate. Having a satellite watching over the landscape could also help law enforcement target illegal gold mining.
While Ghana’s first space project might be looking down at Earth instead of away to the stars, it’s a first step to what the Space Science and Technology Centre hopes to be a rich scientific future.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense