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Rwanda’s youth innovatively takes part in a space mission

bashyira ibinyabuzima mu gasanduku kazoherezwa mu isanzure

Many scientists have been on a lifelong mission to find life in space. They are on a quest to uncover new frontiers for human habitation, expanding beyond the boundaries of Earth. Their ultimate goal? To provide humanity with a wealth of options for where to live, work, and have eternal rest.

Led by the youth Rwanda is also taking part in a tantalizing prospect in collaboration with the French Spring Institute for the Forest on the Moon.

These young people have started making some of the parts that will be processed and sent to the universe to see if there is no life out there.

The project these young people are working on consists of bringing together organisms including moss, worms, and various bacteria in order to see how long they will last in the universe.

Lydie Irababarira is part of a groundbreaking team that has engineered a remarkable solution to a crucial problem: how can we accurately monitor the health and well-being of living organisms sent into space? Their solution? A specially-designed box, aptly named the ‘Terrarium,’ measuring a mere 10cm wide by 17cm tall.

urubyiruko rwo mu rwanda rwakoze terrarium izoherezwa mu isanzure harimo ibinyabuzima 1
Three teams were given three challenges that will complete the project

This remarkable device will be sent into space to house and observe a variety of creatures as they adapt and survive in an extraterrestrial environment. Lydie explains that the Terrarium is equipped with technology that will provide the sender with a wealth of data about the organisms’ condition and welfare.

She said, “At the bottom, we installed a microprocessor system that collects all sensor data. Each sensor would then be placed on each column, allowing each side to easily receive information. We will use microphones to ensure that the sound of the water is heard through frequencies. The frequency will be transmitted to the server via the microprocessor system. This will assist us in regulating them.”

According to Irababarira, the Terrarium is equipped with an array of cutting-edge materials, including sensors, insulators, and more. However, one of the most critical components for the organisms’ survival is light.

With only 14 days of sunlight on the moon, the team faced a daunting challenge: how to ensure that the Terrarium’s inhabitants received the light they needed to thrive. But they rose to the occasion, devising a plan for providing a sustainable light source within the Terrarium.

She said, “Because they will put it [Terrarium] on the moon, the moon will be able to see the sun for 14 days, which is equivalent to that on Earth, and it will have nights for 14 days. At that time, the plant will need light as usual, the LD lights will help.”

The pioneering work accomplished by this group represents only the first step in what promises to be an ongoing quest for knowledge and exploration. The second step is made by the second group ‘Team Blue’ whose mission is to actually think of the organisms to place in the terrarium.

bashyira ibinyabuzima mu gasanduku kazoherezwa mu isanzure 2
These young people had to make sure they test their projects

Yves Didier, who is part of Team Blue working on combining organisms that can live together to build an ecosystem that is similar to the one in the universe, said that they chose to use moss, soil, algae, worms, and bacteria because they can create life if placed in a well-designed environment.

He said, “There are stones, along with the soil because plants are needed and we used moss and another grass called peperomia. Another thing that is needed is the small animals, we used the Springtail worm, which consumes dead plants and converts them into fertilizer, and the fertilizer goes into the soil, and becomes what will support other plants in the next season.”

They expect the terrarium to contain light from lamps so that it will not need sunlight for the plants to live. The terrarium has to be strong enough to keep it intact even if it flips upside down. It should also be able to withstand extreme heat or cold.

Yves Didier testifies that as they have prepared, all the creatures placed in the Terrarium will survive in space until their return.

agasanduku kazajyanwa mu isanzure kazaba ari gato karimo urusobe rwibinyabuzima 1
The terrarium will be sent to the International Space Agency to be improved and sent into space

Louise Fleischer, president of the Spring Institute for the Forest on the Moon, a French institute that has succeeded in sending these organisms into space, said that the work done by these young people is part of the project to send organisms into space, but these young people will work with experts in order to their work.

She said, “Innovative projects will continue to be monitored, and the teams that created them will be connected with experts from the Spring Institute for the Forest on the Moon. There will be additional changes and it will be placed in a spacecraft that will be sent into space.”

Fleischer said the spacecraft will be launched in the next two years, with the International Space Agency’s participation.

She said that the research being carried out by the youth will result in two missions, including a mission to the International Space Station, where a small terrarium containing living organisms will be sent to see the impact of the location on the ecosystem.

There is another ‘terrarium’ that will be sent into space that will also contain living organisms but will go to a place that can be exposed to the sun’s rays with high intensity and temperature fluctuations.

Everything done by the youth of Rwanda will be included in the projects to send these spaceships.

itsinda ryakoze ryashyize udukoresho dutanga amakuru ku binyabuzima bizoherezwa mu isanzure 1
Louise Fleischer, on the left, with several young people
itsinda ryashyize ibinyabuzima muri terrarium izoherezwa mu isanzure 1
The participants received presents from their institute because of their hard work

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