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May 27, 2024

Nigeria Supports Research on Climate Change, Acquires First Cosmic Rays Detector in Africa – NASRDA

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has announced that Nigeria has obtained a cosmic ray muon detector, first in Africa, to support research on climate change and atmospheric conditions.

This detector, known as a cosmic ray muon detector (CRMD), is designed to detect and analyze the particles produced by cosmic rays, which originate from violent processes in the universe.

During a symposium in Abuja on Friday, Babatunde Rabiu, the director of the UN-African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English (UN-ARCSSTEE), revealed the acquisition of this detector. He mentioned that it was developed by the physics and astronomy department of Georgia State University (GSU).

Rabiu highlighted the significance of cosmic rays in climate research, noting that they are natural radiations unaffected by ionization in the atmosphere. These rays vary in intensity based on location, latitude, and altitude, and can also be influenced by human activities. 

“More than ever, scientists are curious about predicting weather, and studying space weather, especially now that climate change is becoming obvious, which is the condition in outer space,” Rabiu said.

“Cosmic rays are everywhere and it has to do with the earth, and it is useful in studying the climate but is yet to be fully impacted because it is ongoing research.

“That is why we hope that with the measurements we are taking with the muon detector, we will be able to have effective predictability of our climate system.”

Rabiu said Africa needs more monitoring systems for space weather, adding that only a few countries have global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers.

He Xiaochun, director of physics at GSU, said the project was targeted at exploring living in space, understanding it, and its adaptation, and providing information for stakeholders to make informed decisions.

Xiaochun said cosmic ray radiation, mostly proton particles, is produced far in deep space and gets into the solar system and produces cosmic ray showers in the earth’s upper atmosphere.

“We measure the shower particles at the surface of the earth and decode the state of the space and earth weather,” he said.

“One needs a network IP address to be able to share data and reconfigure the detector with remote access.”

Bonaventure Okere, director of the Centre for Basic Space Science and Astronomy, said the cosmic ray muon detector would aid astronomy studies and enhance research and development.

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