RTL Today – From Luxembourg to NASA: “In 10 or 20 years, it will be possible to buy a ticket to space”
Born in England and raised in Luxembourg, Hannah Rana has risen through the ranks to the point of being one of Forbes magazine’s 30 science laureates today. Portrait.
Despite his remarkable career, Hannah Rana retrace the highlights of his life with great humility. Born in London, the researcher is however very attached to Luxembourg, where she arrived at the age of seven. “Luxembourg is my permanent home. I have my friends from school and my family here.” From her parents’ house where she returns from time to time, she tells us how her journey led her to be featured in Forbesthe prestigious American business magazine.
A DOCTORATE IN SPACE CRYOGENICS
From an early age, the little girl was passionate about science and mathematics. “I always knew that I was working in this environment”.
After high school at the European School of Luxembourg (Kirchberg)she returned to her native country to undertake engineering studies.
By dint of determination and, she admits, thanks to a few privileges, the young woman accumulates prestigious experiences. From CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva Passing by the European Space Agency in the Netherlandsshe is finally recruited by NASA, in spaceflight analysis and design. At the same time, she son doctorate in space cryogenics at the University of Oxford, and is the author of several scientific publications.
But to make a place for herself as a woman in a predominantly male environment is not always easy. “Sometimes well-known companies in England organize stages with limited places. All students want to apply. When a girl is selected, some boys say it’s for diversity. I always felt that as an added pressure. Because I’m a woman, I have to outdo other people to be taken seriously.”
FORBES: “I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW“
His research on development of cryogenic instruments and detectors hold the attention. “Cryogenics is not cooling people down (= cryogenics). The detectors used in space to make discoveries produce electromagnetic radiation. But we must eliminate this “thermal noise” so that it does not interfere with what we are trying to detect. For that, we need to cool these detectors very, very hard.”
Forbes business magazine the name in his list”30 under 30” Europe 2022 (which brings together thirty influential personalities aged under 30), Science and Health category. “People put in a nomination for me, I didn’t even know about it.”
This selection is the result of thousands of European applications hand-picked by a jury of experts. For each category, only 30 people are selected. “I’m really honored that a magazine also distinguishes me in one of its rankings. It gives me the responsibility and the desire to push my research even further.”
A RETURN TO THE GRAND DUCHY?
Today, space has become Luxembourg’s new playground. In 2017, the government launched a law guaranteeing space mining companies full ownership of their finds, promote the development of the sector. Since then, really start-ups specialized in the field have taken up residence there: “Luxembourg has become a Silicon Valley of space in Europe“.
And according to the researcher, industrial space would have many advantages. “For example, the manufacture of certain metals requires very high temperatures. In space, the sun’s rays strike an extremely hot surface. This therefore makes it possible to produce by polluting less than on earth..”
“I believe that in 10 or 20 years, it will be possible to buy a ticket to go into space.” But Hannah Rana regrets that it could become something exclusive to riches. “I wish there was a chance for everyone to get therefor example by gaining places by merit.“
Given this growing supply, the researcher could consider a future in Luxembourg. “I had offers to work here, but I couldn’t say no to NASA. I think it is inevitable for me in the future to come and settle in Luxembourg to work there.”