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An Israeli and a Palestinian jointly launched an experiment into space

In a scientific collaboration that crosses political borders, two scientists - a Palestinian and an Israeli - join forces to organize a scientific experiment on board the shuttle Columbia

Yuval Landau (left) and Tarik Adwan 
Yuval Landau (left) and Tarik Adwan

In a scientific collaboration that crosses political borders, two scientists - a Palestinian and an Israeli - join forces to organize a scientific experiment on board the shuttle Columbia.
The scientific project, which includes the Palestinian biology student, Tariq Adwan, and the medical student from Israel, Yuval Landau, can help to locate whether the seeds for the primitive life forms exist in the universe.

The astrobiological experiment is being flown on the shuttle that was launched on Thursday with the first Israeli astronaut on board, for a 16-day marathon flight that is entirely dedicated to scientific research in everything related to the lack of gravity. "The launch was breathtaking" said Adwan, a resident of Bethlehem. "I saw her go up and I felt that the experiment that is a part of me is going up with her. Of course I would like to go to space myself one day, said Adoane, who attends Misercordia College in The Dalles, Pennsylvania.
Landau says that he would have preferred to stay on Earth to continue his medical career. Landau, who studies at Tel Aviv University, says that he would like to devote his time to research in astrobiology, the growing field that studies aspects of life on planets other than Earth.
The two work together with Dr. Eran Shankar from the Israel Institute for Space Medicine, who organized the series of experiments on the shuttle to study the effect of space on cells and DNA.
The findings could give us a penetrating look at the question of whether bacteria can move between the planets, in a theory known as pen spermia, according to which the Earth was seeded with life from the universe. Another partner in the project is Dr. David Warmflash, a scientist at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
The experiment is a demonstration of how humans, united by a common goal, can work together to answer questions that have interested humanity for generations, Warmflash said.

Adwan and Landau agree while commenting that relations between the Palestinians and Israelis are in a difficult state, the two said that they were able to put aside their differences, work together and become friends along the way.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, vice president of the Panelatric Association, which financed the project, says he is not surprised. "The language of the world of science is mathematics," said Tyson, who supports the view that science is the way to reduce boundaries between nations and people. "Political or social division emphasizes the differences between us, but they are really tiny. If we want to get off Earth, we're going to have to work together.

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