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Nasa to launch project by Dubai student into space.

Summary: Only 100 projects made the cut and will be going into outer space.

Sarwat Nasir

Gavin Vasandani with Johan Swartz from whom he received guidance. - Supplied photo

A Dubai student's science experiment is being launched into space by Nasa this year and will aim to test affordable and effective materials for space crafts.

Gavin Vasandani, a 15-year-old Indian student at the Emirates International School, was selected from 20,000 applications worldwide in the Cubes in Space programme, which sends students' projects into space through Nasa. Only 100 projects made the cut and will be going into outer space.

Vasandani, who is in Grade 12, said his project consists of eight metal blocks with different coatings that shield the metal from radiation. The coating with the least radiation in space will be the most effective material to build spacecraft, according to Vasandani.

"Looking at how space has been a developing industry in the UAE and how it has been set up to develop further in the future, the issues and the areas that haven't been dealt with are the proper materials used for the construction of spacecraft," he told Khaleej Times. "My material is significantly less expensive and is also far more lighter and more effective than titanium, which is very expensive and decreases the number of times it can be relaunched into space, mainly because it is so expensive and it is not heat resistant, meaning that over time, it deteriorates."

He said he was very proud to know that his project was one of the few that were selected.

"I was very happy and proud. Mostly, it's just knowing that I have achieved the high responsibility of creating a project as well. I was also very excited and motivated because I wanted to see what happens when I send out my project to space. Maybe, space agencies can use this project to develop spacecraft," Vasandani said, who hopes to study either aeronautical engineering or aerophysics after finishing school.

Vasandani received help and guidance from Johan Swartz, head of science and physics teacher at his school.

"It is incredible to see Gavin's project being put to test by Nasa. His accomplishment is extraordinary, and we are very proud of him. At Emirates International School, we nurture the ambitions of our students and encourage them to think outside the box. We aim to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to participate actively and responsibly in a changing and increasingly inter-related world. Gavin made the cut from thousands of applicants and this shows the ideal environment that our school provides," Swartz said.

Gavin's experiment will be launched into space from Nasa's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, in September 2018.

In 2015, another Dubai-based Indian student's project was also selected as part of the Cubes in Space programme. Anoushka Ghosh had three projects - effects of space on soft contact lenses, battery life performance and germination potential of seeds.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jun 25, 2018
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