By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and corporate organisations to support in creating awareness on space science and technology for human development.
Prof. Spencer Onu, the Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD), an activity centre of the agency, made the call on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Onu made the call as Nigeria joins the world to commemorate World Space Week to be celebrated from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10.
The year’s theme focuses on “Women in Space” to recognise achievements of women in the space sector.
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The week is set aside to celebrate the contributions of space science and technology to the development of human conditions and for sustainable development.
The World Space Week was established by the resolution of the UN General Assembly in December 1999.
The director said there was need to sensitise the youths and come to terms with the knowledge of space programmes and get them involved.
“We need to change the orientation of our youths to know that space programme is for everybody both male and female.
“The onus is also on the space agency to ensure that the information about space programme is in the public domain; we need to invite schools around, organise talk shows to educate them about space programme.
“The agency does some level of awareness but it is not sufficient.
“Agencies like the NOA can come into awareness creation on programme because it is something that affects everyone.
“Corporate organisations like the telecom companies can also be part of awareness creation on space,” he said.
According to him, space programme has significance on sustainable development and there is need to be proactive in delivery of information on space programmes.
He decried that globally, statistics showed that women only comprise 10 per cent of human space travelers, “which is poor compared to their male counterparts’’.
Onu said that women in the sector should also encourage young ones to take up careers in space science and technology.
“It will take the females to leave the box that the males have put them and with their participation in space science programme, they are mostly more successful.
“The recent Space X, all civilian space mission, has two women on board and when young girls see these women, they will be encouraged and they serve as role models,” he said.
He said that there should be a deliberate recruitment of women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and space sector to bridge gender disparity.
The director decried that culture and tradition had affected women participation in STEM, space science programmes but it could be corrected. (NAN)