Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) launched two satellites last July, including PakTES-1A, which was developed by Pakistani engineers primarily for remote sensing. Despite Pakistan’s lagging capabilities in several areas, including space exploration, semiconductors, and high-performance computing, investing in radio astronomy research and development can improve technical capabilities in telecommunications, defense, medical imaging, and big data sciences.
Radio astronomy is a field that studies the universe through the analysis of radio waves emitted by celestial objects. By promoting collaborations between various institutes of Pakistan that have their own expertise in specific areas, interdisciplinary research in astrophysics, astroparticle physics, astrochemistry, astrobiology, exoplanet atmospheres, and solar physics can be done, fostering a culture of collaboration among various R&D organizations in Pakistan.
Developing new antennas and RF engineering techniques for radio telescopes can lead to advances in antenna design and RF engineering that can benefit multiple industries, including telecommunications, defense, and medical imaging. Moreover, radio astronomy research can provide economic and human resource development benefits, attracting investment and funding from international organizations and institutions, leading to economic growth and development.
To incentivize Pakistan’s private sector to invest in radio astronomy research and development, the government can provide tax benefits. Investing in radio astronomy should be treated as a strategic national investment, allowing Pakistan to unlock the power of radio astronomy and take its place among the stars, contributing to the global knowledge economy and positioning itself as a leader in science and technology.