The Star (Nairobi)

Africa: In 2013, Africa Could Enter the Space Race

opinion

There is something that is just so sentimental and spiritual about the stars and the heavenly bodies.

According to the Mayan calendar- a once great civilization in Central America- the world will end on December 21. If this does not happen, then next year could usher in a great era of space technology in Africa. South Africa, alongside Australia and New Zealand, won the bid to host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project.

70 percent of the project will be based in South Africa. The SKA project, a multi billion dollar project, will attempt to look at the early days when the universe was formed. It will attempt to verify the big bang theory, and also test Einstein's

Theory of relativity. The project will also look at whether there is proof of any intelligent life outside. Should this discovery be made, it will shake the church to the core, since the basic doctrine of the church has been that humans, created in the image of God, are the supreme intelligent beings that rule over everything else.

Such a discovery will turn that fundamental belief upside down. Celebrated Cambridge mathematician, Stephen Hawking, author of a 'A Brief History of Time', argues that if there is any alien life, then it could have a drastic effect on us humans, not different from the one the Native Americans endured when the Europeans landed in the Americas. In the SKA project, thousands of radio telescopes will be stationed across the desert parts of South Africa.

The exciting part is that the benefits of the project will not just accrue to South Africa, but also to Kenya- University of Nairobi, Mauritius, and other African countries, as they will be contracted to consult and build parts of the radio telescope.

Still within space technology, space tourism could come into full realization earlier than expected. SpaceX, a private rocket company, as well as space enthusiasts like Richard Branson, estimate that they could soon be sending tourists to the moon, and even to mars, in the next few years.

China is to start growing vegetables on mars soon, while a thousand volunteers, from all over the world, have signed up for the pioneer trip of human tourists to Mars.

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