A 15-year-old Emirati Student’s Experiment Has Launched Into Space

"I literally can’t believe that my experiment is now in space"
A 15-year-old Emirati Student’s Experiment Has Launched Into Space
By Nimra Adil -

Earlier this year, 15-year-old Emirati student, Alia Al Mansoori beat 109 competitors to take home the winning prize at the Genes in Space UAE competition – which challenged students to design experiments to be conducted in space. And just last week, she travelled to NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre to watch her dream come true.

Her experiment, which studies how exposure to space affects the health of live organisms at cellular level, was sent off to space on the Space X Falcon 9 rocket. Research will now be conducted to see whether ‘heat shock’ proteins are produced in space.

Alia spoke about the experience to The National, “I literally can’t believe that my experiment is now in space. All the months of effort was worthwhile.”

Alia watching her experiment take off…

Alia’s trip so far has had some pretty major highlights, including seeing the historic launch pad where Apollo 11 took off for the Moon, meeting Chris Ferguson – the commander of the last Space Shuttle Mission and seeing inside the Boeing workshops to see future spaceships being built. And it gets even better! She has also been invited to New York for a Teen Vogue interview, followed by a trip to Canada to meet Marc Garneau, the country’s minister of transport.

It was an honor to be invited to the UAE consulate in New York by his excellency majed Alsuwaidi during my trip in the U.S . انني سررت بدعوة القنصل العام ماجد السويدي للنقصلية في نيو يورك خلال رحلتي للولايات المتحدة #Repost @uaeinnyc (@get_repost) ・・・ رحب القنصل العام ماجد حسن السويدي بالطالبة علياء المنصوري البالغة من العمر 15 عاما، في القنصلية العامة للدولة في نيويورك. إذ تعد علياء أول فائزة دولية بمسابقة "الجينات في الفضاء 2017" التي أطلقتها وكالة الإمارات للفضاء 2015 بالتعاون مع صحيفة ذا ناشيونال وشركة بوينغ ، والتي تدعو الطلاب من الصف 7 إلى 12 لإعداد تجارب علمية من شأنها أن تساعد في الكشف عن كيفية تأثير الفضاء على الحمض النووي. تتضمن تجربة علياء على فحص مدى خطورة حدوث طفرة في خلايا روّاد الفضاء إثر تعرّضهم للإشعاع والجاذبية الضعيفة الناجمة عن وجودهم في مدار حول كوكب الأرض، تم إرسل تجربتها الى مركز كنيدي للفضاء يوم الاثنين الماضي حيث سيتم اختبار التجربة من قبل رواد الفضاء في محطة الفضاء الدولية. في ختام اللقاء تمنى القنصل العام التوفيق والنجاح للطالبة علياء المنصوري على تجربتها الفريدة وتحقيق حلمها في أن تصبح أول رائدة فضاء إماراتية بإذن الله Consul General @majid_alsuwaidi welcomes 15 year-old Emirati and aspiring astronaut @alia.a.almansoori to New York. Alia is the first international winner of the 2017 Genes in Space competition, an annual competition first launched in 2015 by the UAE Space Agency, @thenationaluae and @Boeing, which challenges students from grades 7 through 12 to design experiments that will help uncover how space impacts DNA. Alia’s experiment studies how exposure to space affects the health of live organisms at the cellular level. Her experiment was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on Monday and will be tested by astronauts on the International Space Station #kennedyspacecentre #uaespaceagency #uae

A post shared by علياء المنصوري (@alia.a.almansoori) on

She spoke about her future plans to Amanda Griffin of NASA communications, saying, “I want to be an astronaut when I grow up, so it’s amazing that I get to see actual astronauts doing my experiment in space.”

Back in February she told The National, “I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut. When I go to Mars, hopefully I’ll be taking an Emirati flag with me and I’ll be planting it on the planet.”

She also met HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who told her to continue being innovative and inspire others in this field.