By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
Enugu – The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Centre for Basic Space Science (CBSS) says no course is irrelevant in space science technology.
Dr Bonaventure Okere, the Acting Director of the Centre, said this on Thursday at a lecture organised in commemoration of the ongoing CBSS Week in Nsukka, Enugu State.
The lecture, with the theme: “Becoming an Effective Scientific Officer in Space Research”, was part of the centre’s activities to mark the week.
Okere said that the lecture was targeted at encouraging the staff to be relevant at the centre as well as the space agency for effective service delivery.
“CBSS Week is an opportunity to expose staff to roles they could play in space science technology development because some young ones are employed into space organisations without basic science knowledge.
“With the diversity of astronomy, every course is relevant to the space industry, so it is not an opportunity for people without basic science knowledge to feel left out,” he said.
According to him, the staff can upgrade their knowledge and skills to fit into activities of the space industry.
He said that astronomy in the country had not diversified into sub areas, but the Association of Astronomers were looking at harnessing it.
Prof Augustine Chukwude, an Astro-Physicist and the facilitating lecturer, said that science education and application in Nigeria could be effective if education was taken seriously.
Chukwude, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Astronomy and Physics, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), urged government to make education its major priority area.
“Science narrative cannot change in isolation, our narrative for education will have to change first and that encompasses sciences.
“If government makes education its major priority area, science will follow because science should generally drive education to greater heights.’’
The don decried poor funding of the education sector and said that the lack of funds had contributed to slow development and made Nigeria a consumer nation of scientific and technological produce from other countries.
According to him, there is general lack of trust in dividends of science and space science if it is well funded.
Chukwude said that if properly explored, space science could engender transfer of knowledge from international experts to scientists in the country.
He said that government needed to have clear-cut policies in space science research and space exploration to harness the benefits.
The professor added that the challenges of space science technology was not unique to Nigeria, but to many developing countries.
He said that the future of space science research in Nigeria was bright, adding that “it is an active and fast evolving area that requires the contributions of bright young minds in the country.’’
He said that astronomy had diversified to space law, forensic astronomy, space archaeology, aerospace medicine and ethno-astronomy, which is the learning of astronomical system of non-western people, among other areas.
He said that Africans in the past engaged in secondary astronomy, but their activities were not documented.
The CBSS Week began on Tuesday with sporting activities for members of staff and religious mass earlier in the day.