USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Role Models in Science & Engineering Achievement: Farouk El-Baz — Geologist

–The key scientist who helped NASA plan and identify the Moon landing location for Apollo 11

–Currently is a leading expert in the study of deserts and how to find and sustain water in such environments in the Arab world

Two years before America’s historic Apollo 11 moon landing mission was officially confirmed, NASA turned to a talented young geologist to help it plan and identify the best touch down location for the spacecraft that would land the first humans on the lunar surface. That scientist was 26 year-old Egyptian-born Farouk El-Baz who had recently completed his Ph.D. in geology from the Missouri University of Science. After hiring Farouk as the Apollo Program’s Supervisor of Lunar Science Planning, NASA immediately put him to work poring over mountains of detailed photographs of the moon’s surface — a crucial step in selecting the most ideal and precise landing location based on lunar terrain, climate variations and other factors. He also performed the same role for the famous Apollo 15 Rover mission, and trained astronauts in the important skills of visual observation, space photography and on the types of moon rocks to collect and how to collect lunar soil. So pivotal was he to Apollo that in Tom Hanks’ HBO TV series “From the Earth to the Moon,” Farouk’s role as an Apollo scientist and astronaut trainer was featured in a segment entitled “The Brain of Farouk El-Baz,” and a shuttle craft named “El-Baz” soared through the popular TV program “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

To read the full biography of Farouk El-Baz and other role models in science and engineering, click here.

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  1. […] Role Models in Science & Engineering Achievement: Farouk El-Baz — Geologist USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog […]

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