Science minister meeting NASA heads to discuss cooperation

Israeli scientists hope to work on inter-satellite laser communications.

NASA 311 (photo credit: NASA/AP)
NASA 311
(photo credit: NASA/AP)
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz will meet in Washington on Tuesday with the heads of NASA, at their invitation.
The ministry described the visit as a step leading to the “tightening of ties between NASA and the Israel Space Agency,” which is part of the ministry.
Herschkowitz, who is also a mathematics professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, as well as a rabbi, will be hosted by NASA chief Charles Bolden, who was in Israel in January to attend the fifth Ilan Ramon Conference on Space.
The ministry said there were a “number of fields of interest to the two sides.”
Seven months ago, Israel officially joined the NASA initiative to research the moon and planets, through Ben- Gurion University of the Negev and the Technion.
Among the topics in which Israeli scientists will participate are inter-satellite communications using laser systems and monitoring of space satellites.
Israel is one of the handful of countries that has built and launched satellites, and it is an expert on optical and radar photography of the Earth from such satellites, which weigh much less than conventional satellites. These projects have encouraged joint research and development with the US and other countries in the fields of solar and planetary research, black holes and the universe.
Herschkowitz is due to raise the possibility of additional cooperation with NASA on implementing Israeli-developed innovations for observations of Earth from space, future space projects and the expansion of knowledge in astrophysics.
The minister will visit the Goddard Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to see NASA’s achievements in the earth sciences, astrophysics, planetary science, solar physics and communications engineering.
The ministry said that Herschkowitz, his director-general Menahem Greenblum and Israel Space Agency head Dr.
Zvi Kaplan would meet with Dr. Ralph Cicedrone, head of the US Academy of Sciences, and with the head of the US National Science Foundation, Dr. Cora Marett, to discuss the expansion of cooperation between Israel and the US federal government.