Two scientists from South Africa’s National Space Agency, Dr. John Bosco Habarulema and Mr. Stefen Lotz were at JKUAT to explore possible ways in which the agency would collaborate with JKUAT to foster research in space science in tropical Africa.
The two officials who were received by Prof. Mabel Imbuga, Vice Chancellor JKUAT, Tuesday March 13, 2012 were particularly keen to initiate a process that would eventually identify a site to locate in Kenya the ionosonde, a special high frequency radar used to examine the ionosphere; the part of the upper region of the earth’s atmosphere that lies between 50 km and 1400 km, that owes its existence to the sun and mainly formed by the interaction of extreme ultra violet and solar X-ray radiations with the neutral atmosphere and is known to influence radio propagation to distances places on earth, among its other functions.
According to Dr. Habarulema, the location of the equipment in Kenya is expected to generate increased joint research interests between equatorial Africa and South Africa –known for its developed network of ionosonde stations. ‘The outcome of all these projects will lead to the development of critical skills in data processing, interpretation, and understanding of tropical Africa’s ionospheric dynamics and its contributions to global knowledge’, Dr. Habarulema said.
Welcoming the officials, Prof. Imbuga said JKUAT was willing to tap from the vast experiences in South Africa to foster teaching and research in space science that was now beginning to be of great interests to JKUAT saying that the establishment at JKUAT of the Pan African University could provide an appropriate avenue for increased collaboration between scientists in South Africa and Kenya.
The guests were accompanied to the Vice Chancellor by Dr. Jared Ndeda, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physics who has been instrumental in promoting space science in JKUAT. It was through Dr. Denda’s concerted effort that recently saw JKUAT receive 20 telescopes from the International Astronomical Union to support research and teaching in space science at the Department that has planned to roll out new programmes in Geophysics and its related areas.