The animation was declared Best Animation (Production) at the 180 Seconds Space Film Festival (180SSFF) organized by the National Center of GIS & Space Applications (NCGSA), Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad (IST) & Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC).
About the Icy Volcanoes Animation:
This animation gives a thoughtful perspective to the people who have an interest in astrobiology and space sciences. When studying the primordial life conditions on Earth, we do take volcanoes into consideration as they have some of the tough life forms (generally known as extremophiles) inside them. These organisms give scientists a new research stream to look if these organisms were one of the earliest organisms that started life on Earth (and maybe in Space!).
Recently, NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft has revealed so much about Saturn’s icy moon – Enceladus that has all three main ingredients that can power life (even in its toughest form!) in the hot water ocean under the icy crust of Enceladus.
Dr. Nozair Khawaja
Dr. Khawaja was born in Wazirabad – a city located in the Gujranwala district of Punjab. He completed his Masters in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Punjab University. Later, the Pakistani scientist acquired a Ph.D. in Geosciences from Heidelberg University in Germany. He has also worked as a post-doctorate scholar at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the same German university.
He has done a comprehensive study on life beyond Earth and is a leading name in many research programs.
In 2019, NASA honored Dr. Khawaja with the ‘Group Achievement Award for Cassini’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA). He is also a recipient of the Horneck-Brack Award from the European Astrobiology Network Association in 2018.
His work has appeared in highly cited peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Nature, research journals, and the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society and Science.
Dr. Khawaja’s latest research around the key organic molecule on Enceladus has also found a place in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).
If you want to know about the discovery of one of the main life ingredients which were discovered by Pakistani-German Planetary Scientist Dr. Nozair Khawaja back in 2019, here is another animation where I presented his breakthrough research in just 2 to 3 minutes!
Syed Muneeb Ali
Syed Muneeb Ali is a Pakistani award-winning Science writer, science journalist, and amateur astronomer. He is a feature writer at Dawn News and Express News (Pakistan). He is also co-founder and general secretary of the Astrobiology Network of Pakistan.
Ali wrote his first Urdu book Kainaat – Aik Raaz on astronomy in 2018 (published in December 2019) which won the National Science Award 2019 by the Urdu Science Board, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (Pakistan). He worked on the astrobiology animation project (on a volunteer basis) with one of the famous universities of Germany – Freie University Berlin.