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Twenty years since its construction, the High Energy Stereoscopic System telescope, situated about 120 km west of Windhoek, remains an outstanding example of technical precision and awe.

This sentiment was expressed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, in marking the 20th anniversary of the HESS telescope, meant to capture cosmic gamma rays.

The telescope was commissioned in 2002, with Namibia completing 90% of the project.

The HESS telescope is fundamental to research in astrophysics and space science, says Nandi-Ndaitwah.

Research successes achieved by the telescope recognised its vital role in developing a sound policy framework for the sector, she says.

"It makes us particularly proud to see that the steel frames that require precision engineering were constructed by Namibian companies. Also, a skilled Namibian workforce is employed locally for all operations of the H.E.S.S. telescopes. As I was made aware, the latter 10 years of the project have seen a significant rise in the involvement of the University of Namibia through its scientists and Namibian students in the H.E.S.S. project."

With the world rapidly moving towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution, she says the nation should look to empower its people, particularly its young people, with the necessary skills to thrive.

"The H.E.S.S. telescope project has impressively demonstrated being able to play a vital role in developing exactly those skills needed for the 4IR: computing, sensor networks, big data, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing. However, for the 4IR to be meaningful, it must move beyond the classroom to revolutionize the fertile minds of our youth and transform the landscape of the way we live, radically disrupting almost every aspect of life. However, we must be able to seize the opportunities while avoiding danger."

An open day will be held for the public at the telescope on Sunday.

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Photo Credits
Emil Seibeb

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Emil Seibeb