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Kuwaiti scientist launches asteroid naming campaign for Arab world
January 19, 2014, 9:39 am
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A Kuwaiti scientist and oceanogrpaher based in Belgium has launched an awareness campaign targeted at the Arab world to name an asteroid.
Maryam Aljoaan is the founder and executive director of an NGO called, Lazurd, based in the Belgian city of Gent.

The aim of the campaign is to inspire young Arabs to explore, understand, and protect our planet, she said in a statement.

"Our asteroid naming campaign is to raise awareness about asteroids and protecting Earth from their impacts. Lazurd is offering a unique opportunity to the Arab world to name an asteroid. I'm looking forward to receive the entries," she said.

Lazurd is partnering with the Minor Planet Center, under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union.

Participents must visit the website www.lazurd.org to fill out the form and submit their entries. The due date is March 31, 2014.

Aljooan explained that Lazurd is the Arabic word for azure, a hue of blue. Azure represents Earth as seen from space. It also appears in shades of the sky, water, and ice.

Aljoaan became the first Kuwaiti woman to reach Antarctica after she was selected as a representative of Kuwait Science Club for the Canadian expedition 'Students on Ice' in February 2011.

She studied in a public high school in Kuwait.
Apart from being a former member of Kuwait Science Club at the Department of Astronomy and Space Sciences, she received her Bachelor's degree in Earth and Space Sciences, specialising in Oceanography from Jacobs University Bremen in Germany.

She has several field experiences on land and sea including the North Sea, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Southern Ocean.
She also worked as an intern at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy in Brussels.

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