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Nigeria, Russia MoU ‘ll boost space science

The National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA) says the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigeria and Russia on exploration of outer space will foster the cooperation of both countries for peaceful purposes.

Dr. Saidu Muhammad, director-general of NASRDA told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that the agreement would enhance their cooperation in the use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

He said the agreement would also encourage cooperation in areas of astrophysical research, planetary studies, remote sensing of the earth from space meteorology, satellite navigation and associated technologies and services, exchange of information and technical meetings.

``Space is for humanity and we are part of the global community and at every point we must share the benefit in the course of space to enable us enjoy the cooperation in various areas of scientific study.
``The agreement is mindful of the provision of the UN treaty on principles governing the activities of the states and exploration of the outer space including the moon and other celestial bodies of January 27, 1967, ’’ he said.

_He said the National Centre for Remote Sensing had been using earth observation in areas of agriculture, mineral exploration, water study, irrigation command and environmental monitoring.
Muhammad said satellite navigation would be used in strategic areas such as army, construction and other areas of technology as well as global positioning of systems._

He said the agency had been using earth observation satellite for the production of land mapping which improves quality of images, adding that the agreement would boost other alternative satellite images too.

The director-general said that the mapping would also be used for land evolution to know the type of crops to grow on a particular soil type through land capability classification assessment.

Muhammad said the earth observation also offered assessment of the health of the crops affected by pest and for environmental monitoring in issues of locust invasion which constantly affect farms.

He said that the centre for astronomy was working on radio telescope, about 28 metres, the biggest in the southern hemisphere, would facilitate space research and help to demystify science, especially in the nation yet to fully accept science and technology as a culture.

He said the technology would also be used to determine the extent of drainage pattern and density as well as identifying rivers and where agriculture could possibly take place.
NAN reports that the agreement will end in 2014.