A mission of the American Space Agency (NASA) led by the Moroccan Kamal Oudrhiri has been awarded a prestigious prize in the advanced field of space science and technology.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has thus awarded its most coveted prize in the field of space sciences to the “Cold Atom Lab” mission led by the Moroccan scientist.
The Cold Atom Lab team received the 2020 AIAA Space Science Award for “developing and delivering the highly innovative Cold Atom Laboratory to the International Space Agency as well as for its fundamental scientific achievements,” Oudghiri said. in a statement Thursday to MAP.
Project and Mission Leader, Kamal Oudrhiri congratulated everyone who helped design, build and successfully operate this very first quantum physics laboratory in space.
“The Cold Atom Lab project depends on the work of a whole team and the commitment to excellence of all those involved in this high-tech lab with the goal of fostering great science that expands our understanding of Earth. and the universe around us, ”he added.
The Cold Atom Lab has been operating from its perch on the International Space Station since July 2018. It cools atoms to near absolute zero, minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit, colder than any other known location in the natural universe.
“The experiments carried out at these extreme temperatures help us to understand how our world works at the smallest scale”, specifies the Moroccan scientist.
Cold Atom Lab, a multi-use facility, is made up of a very prestigious scientific team including three Nobel Prize winners.
The awards given by the AIAA organization reflect its commitment to ensuring that aerospace professionals are recognized and celebrated for their achievements, innovations and discoveries that “make the world safer, more connected, more accessible and more prosperous” .
Kamal Oudrhiri, who has worked at NASA for twenty years, has played a key role in multiple missions, notably those related to Mars exploration vehicles, namely “Curiosity”, “Rovers”, “Spirit” and “Opportunity”, including the international missions “Cassini” for the planet Saturn, “Grail” for the moon and “Juno” for Jupiter.
The new distinction comes on top of several awards, including the prestigious Medal for Exceptional Service, in recognition of the sustained performance and multiple contributions of this scientist to NASA projects and programs.