By Rodolfo Andal
A TEAM of scientists from the U.S.’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration visited the Philippines for 12 days to participate in National Science and Technology Week.
The NASA scientists interacted with local scientists, engineering students, and high school teachers, and they highlighted NASA’s collaboration with the Philippine government on climate research and weather monitoring during their sojourn.
For instance, during the NSTW opening ceremony last July 17, the NASA and the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines handed over 336 specialized lenses for mosquito identification to the Philippine Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Science High Schools Program. The lenses were provided through the U.S. government-funded Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, a U.S.-led initiative to promote citizen science to fight mosquito-borne diseases in 22 countries, including the Philippines.
Also, as part of the NSTW activities, NASA Deputy Chief Technologist Florence Tan participated in a panel discussion about the use of space technology with Philippine academics, scientists, and government officials. She fielded and answered questions on space debris, prospects for human visitation to Mars, and NASA’s programming in the Philippines.
The NSTW was organized by the Philippine Department of Science and Technology. The week-long event brings foreign and local scientists, and students together for five days of activities, presentations, and interactive exhibits on cutting edge scientific research and technology benefiting the Philippines.
NASA scientist Dr. Hal Maring said, “It was a joy to interact with so many Filipino students and experts excited about science, space technology, and technology in general.”
During their July 14 to 26 visit, NASA scientists are also worked with scientists based at the Manila Observatory, the country’s oldest meteorological observatory, to prepare for next year’s CAMP2Ex Project, which will begin in mid-2019.
CAMP2Ex is a US$20 million partnership that builds on ten years of U.S.-Philippine collaboration to better understand cloud formation in the western part of the Philippines, one of the world’s most unpredictable geographic regions for weather and climate models.
As part of the project, NASA and Filipino scientists will undertake a comprehensive effort to map and model the meteorological system of the Philippines, generating high quality data that will inform disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
The project will also connect Philippine scientists and students with more than 40 other scientific experts from NASA and top U.S. research universities. Philippine project partners include PAGASA, the Manila Observatory of Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of the Philippines.
Furthermore, while in the Philippines, Dr. Maring, who is NASA’s lead scientist for CAMP2Ex, visited Subic Bay to mentor more than 200 Philippine STEM teachers on techniques for teaching climate science and meteorology.
Dr. Maring explained, “I was impressed by the STEM teachers’ intense interest in inspiring their students. We had a productive time discussing how to teach climate and environmental science to Filipino youth. I have high hopes for the next generation of science leaders.”