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Asteroid Named After Egyptian Scientist Ramy Al Maarry in Honor of His Contributions

November 3, 2023
Photo credit: Khalifa University.

On 24 October, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named an asteroid in honor of Mohamed Ramy Al Maarry, an Egyptian associate professor of planetary science and the director of the Space and Planetary Science Centre at Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

Asteroid 2002 CZ is now called Al Maarry (357148) in honor of his noteworthy contributions to planetary science and cometary geology.

“I hope this award can be an inspiration to the next generation of Arab scientists,” Al Maarry stated.

Along with representing Khalifa University, Al Maarry is scheduled to participate in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) upcoming space mission to investigate seven bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in 2028. The expedition seeks to unearth crucial information about ice asteroids, which could shed light on the creation of our solar system,

“Our Earth Sciences department offers the only bachelor’s degree in Earth and planetary science in the region,” said Al Maarry. “Our ambition is to prepare the next generation of Emiratis to take part in the upcoming UAE space missions, especially the UAE mission to the asteroid belt.”

To better understand planetary geology and the physical processes that impact it, Al Maarry conducts research using modeling, data analysis, laboratory work, and comparative planetology, mostly through fieldwork.

For the past 16 years, Al Maarry has worked in planetary science and comet research. He has made significant contributions to several important international space missions. His work portfolio encompasses involvement in missions such as NASA’s New Horizons, which focused on exploring Kuiper Belt Objects at the outer reaches of our solar system, as well as the lunar mission conducted by the UAE.

He is also set to participate in the upcoming ESA ExoMars Rover mission, the Comet Interceptor project, and the planetary defense mission known as Hera.

The award emphasizes the global contributions made by scientists from outside of the United States and Europe, according to Al Maarry.

The NASA Small Bodies Database lists the asteroid (357148) Al Maarry, formerly 2002 CZ, as being in the inner asteroid belt and roughly 300 million kilometers from the Sun.

It completes its orbit around the Sun once every three and a half years, and 11 August 2024 is predicted to be when it will be closest to the Sun. The German Aerospace Center in Berlin and the Department of Astronomy and Astronomical Observatory at Padova University worked together to discover the asteroid in February 2002.

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