KARACHI - Karachi University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan has said that space science has become a significant feature of the modern era.

“Its significance has enormously enhanced in the background of global warming. Space science has made the world a global village and revolutionised the communication system. Space science development has played a pivotal role in human development, it’s a broader fields having diversified prospects and decreasing the duration of time and space.” He was addressing at the inauguration ceremony of the 5th National Conference on Space Science and Technology entitled “ Exploring New Worlds in Space” organised by Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics(ISPA), University of Karachi. “I congratulate ISPA Director and his organising team for holding this national conference. We should generate funds through national and international research projects and with the collaboration of industries, we should conduct research of good standards,” Dr Khan added.

Dr Hafeez Hoorani, Director General of National Center for Physics (NCP) was the chief guest of the occasion who informed that NCP published more than 300 research papers in this year and also talked about Nobel Prize on gravitational waves.

The Founding Director, ISPA Prof Dr Jawaid Quamar speaking on the occasion talked about the importance of space science and technology in this century.

Director ISPA Prof Dr M Jawed Iqbal gave the welcome address and welcomed all the speakers in the conference.

Presenting his research paper in the technical sessions of the conference, Professor Dr Muhammad Shahid Qureshi from ISPA, KU said that the 21st century has already witnessed some very close and intimate exploration of many of the Solar System objects. Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter and two of the major objects in asteroid belt have been and are going through very close scrutiny that is unparalleled in the history of science and technology. Technologies for propulsion through means other than the conventional are being explored and put to work that would increase speeds of space probes many fold. Hence, the time required to reach distant objects within and outside the solar system shall reduce significantly.Telecommunication is going through a revolution in high speeds and ever broader band width to ensure huge data transfer in shorter periods of time. Artificial satellites are playing vital and ever increasing roles for civil, technological and strategic purposes.

“Our major concern is where do we stand as a nation and community in this rapidly growing use of space science and technology for various purposes? Space science and technology has proved to be, if not more than at least as significant as the nuclear science and technology. And there we lag behind many other countries. Thus our national priorities must include sufficient investment in the development of infrastructure as well as educational institutions in the field of Space Science & Technology,” Dr Qureshi added.

Dr Ihtzaz Qamar from Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad said that the human quest for space exploration coupled with instinct to defend oneself with advanced weapon systems opened a new frontier of science and technology called rocket propulsion.  “Since the development of first rocket by Rober H Goddard in 1926 we have seen tremendous advancements. From first moon landing in 1959 to current interplanetary missions, rocket propulsion, its fundamental principles, different kinds of rocket propulsion systems and major challenges faced during development and testing of these systems, current global research in the field of rocket propulsion and rocket propulsion related research in Pakistan,” he maintained. Mahrukh Farooq from ISPA and Madiha Talha from SUPARCO while presenting their research paper said that Geomagnetism, study of Earth’s magnetic field, through history has greater impact and wide applications in different aspects of science and technology.

Earth’s magnetic field consists of internal and external components. The internal field, which makes up 90 per cent of the total field, also called main magnetic field, has its origin at the center of the Earth. This field is fairly steady when measured over time periods of days or months but its changes are quite significant when measured over periods of years and centuries. External magnetic field that represent up to around 10 per cent of the total field measured at Earth’s surface is the consequence of ionosphere and magnetospheric currents. In this 10 percent, field variations are caused by various sources, mainly Sun, with time periods mostly less than a year.