15-Year-Old Emirati Student Just Launched Her Award-Winning Experiment into Space
Alia Al Mansoori, a 15-year-old student from the United Arab Emirates, has been declared the winner of the first UAE Genes in Space competition — which was held in the UAE in partnership with the UAE Space Agency, The National, and Boeing.
The competition was open to students across the country in grades 7-12, and Al Mansoori beat 108 other applicants with her winning entry, which examines DNA produced in space for changes in protein expression.
As her prize, Al Mansoori’s proposal was put into action when her experiment was launched into space yesterday (yes, actual space, you guys) afternoon in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“The need to explore connects us all as humans and it inspires us in different ways to pursue advances,” she said. “I looked at how astronauts might need to be protected while in space, or at least offer them a way to see what changes are taking place in their bodies. Knowing that, it may be possible to prevent such damage from taking place at all.”
Al Mansoori watched her project, the Falcon 9, launch into space, and reflected on the opportunity: “I literally can’t believe that my experiment is now in space. All these months of effort were worthwhile,” she said. “The feeling I got when it launched was just so inspiring.”