By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation has denied reports that the high-tech equipment placed around Namibia by America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is being clandestinely to gather intelligence.
Earlier this year Confidente reported that five high-tech machines were strategically placed around the country by NASA, without the knowledge and permission of the Namibian government, sparking fears that in¬ternational terrorists groups could target the country.
The ministry did not respond to questions sent to it at the time.
Responding to questions by DTA parliamentarian Nico Smit in parliament recently, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maureen Hinda, said that NASA is playing a role in understanding regional and global climate change, in order to improve future projections and the impact of climate change on rainfall patterns.
Asked why NASA had chosen Namibia, Hinda said that the country is a home to one of three permanent low-level clouds.
The others are situated off the West Coast of the United States of America and West Coast of South America.
“However, unlike the other two locations, Namibia is the only such location with a steady supply of aerosol particles, in the form of smoke from inland fires that move across Namibia during August to October, and gets mixed with the cloud. Therefore, the research aims to understand the impact of the interaction between the large amount of smoke and the cloud, and thus Namibia is the natural laboratory for such research,” Hinda said, before adding that “our fear of being spied on will keep us behind, in terms of science and technology advancements”.
She said that NASA entered into an agreement with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) to conduct research on Namibian clouds last year.
“I am not aware of any high-tech spy equipment brought into Namibia by NASA. What we know is that NASA entered into an agreement with NUST for cooperation, in terms of the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET), in September 2015,” she said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015