Exploring the link between space and energy – with support from ONS

ONS promoted technology transfer between space and energy as an interesting area during ONS 2010, with a separate pavilion dedicated to the topic. Now ONS is sponsoring internships at NASA for two students at the University of Stavanger.

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“We have had a very informative, not to mention very exciting summer. We have met many interesting people who work with things you only see in movies,” says Saresh Mohamad.

Saresh Mohamad and Fridtjof Wabakken are close to the end of their three-month stay at the NASA Ames Research Center in California. Their internship was arranged by the Mars Institute, one of ONS’ partners.

“Not only has working with space been a dream since I was a little kid, I am also working on something that potentially will find liquid water – and maybe even life – on Mars. That is pretty cool,” says Fridtjof Wabakken, and Saresh Mohamad adds:

“There are not many drilling engineers in Norway who have experience from drilling on a place (Mars) which is 225 millions kilometres away from Earth.“

The aim of connecting space and energy, according to the Mars Institute, is “to foster innovative partnerships, create new business opportunities, train the next generation of competency, and find solutions for our planet’s future”.

Similar challenges
To find life on other planets, it is necessary to drill in the crust. But drilling is just one of the similarities between the space and oil and gas industries.

“Considering that both space and energy operate with high-tech in extreme environments, and often combine it with autonomous systems, the industries are a natural fit. Combining these two innovative fields, by facilitating the mobility of technology and innovation between them, is giving rise to a lot of new exciting technology,” Wabakken explains.

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“I am fulfilling a childhood dream. The network I am getting out of meeting a lot of interesting and diverse people, from CEOs to NASA old schoolers, is truly special and just added value,” says Fridtjof Wabakken.

Why does ONS help to finance these internships?

“ONS is a non-profit foundation that creates meeting places for the energy industry. Our funds are used exclusively to improve society and promote technology. We think the link between space exploration and energy production is exciting, and believe that technology transfer between them could lead to important advances in the future,” says Leif Johan Sevland, President and CEO of ONS.

Space and energy remains an important topic for ONS, and may form part of the conference programme at ONS 2016.