KACST partners with NASA Lunar Science Institute

December 16, 2009

The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and the NASA Lunar Science Institute have signed a joint statement that allows for collaboration in lunar and asteroid science research, according to a report on NASA’s website. The Saudi Lunar and Near-Earth Object Science Center will be recognized as an affiliate partner with the NASA Lunar Science Institute at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

“This collaboration is within the scope of the Memorandum of Understanding on Science and Technology signed between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America last year,” said Dr. Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Saud, KACST’s Vice President for Research Institutes. “We are looking forward to our expanding collaboration with NASA for the benefit of both countries.”

Greg Schmidt, Institute Deputy Director at Ames, commented, “NASA’s Lunar Science Institute exists to conduct cutting-edge lunar science and train the next generation of lunar scientists and explorers . . . Our international partnerships are critical for meeting these objectives, and we are very excited by the important science, training and education that our new Saudi colleagues bring to the NASA Lunar Science Institute.”

For his part, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom James B. Smith characterized the partnership as “an important advance in our growing program of bilateral science and technology cooperation.” He added, “It will help realize President Obama’s goal, expressed in his June 4 speech to the Muslim world, of increasing our cooperation on science and technology, which we believe closely corresponds to King Abdullah’s vision.”