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Thu, Dec 17, 2009

NASA Partners With Saudi Arabia On Moon And Asteroid Research

Partnership To Strengthen International Ties

NASA recently announced a partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) that allows for collaboration in lunar and asteroid science research. The agreement makes the Saudi Lunar and Near-Earth Object Science Center an affiliate partner with the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA.

"NASA's Lunar Science Institute exists to conduct cutting-edge lunar science and train the next generation of lunar scientists and explorers," said Greg Schmidt, institute deputy director at Ames. "Our international partnerships are critical for meeting these objectives, and we are very excited by the important science, training and education that our new Saudi colleagues bring to the NASA Lunar Science Institute."

"This is an important advance in our growing program of bilateral science and technology cooperation," said U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Smith. The partnership also aligns with Obama's campaign rhetoric calling for NASA to "use space as a strategic tool of U.S. diplomacy to strengthen relations with allies."

The Saudi science center's proposal brings technical and engineering expertise in radar and infrared imaging, laser ranging and imaging, and topographical studies. The center may also help NLSI track and study near-Earth objects, including potentially deadly asteroids.

"NASA welcomes international cooperation for mutual benefit with organizations large and small in all regions of the world," said Michael O'Brien, assistant administrator for external relations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Our continuing discussions with Saudi Arabian officials may lead to future joint scientific collaboration in other areas of mutual interest."



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