In 1967, Farouk El-Baz, was appointed by NASA as secretary of lunar landing site selection and chairman of astronaut training in orbital observations and photography. He helped NASA officials determine where the Eagle would land on the moon in 1969. El-Baz’s role was chronicled by Tom Hanks in the TV series From the Earth to the Moon, in a segment titled: “The Brain of Farouk El-Baz.” In addition, the name El-Baz was immortalized on a shuttlecraft in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and NASA named a newly discovered asteroid after in 2019 in recognition of his outstanding scientific contributions.
The Egyptian scientist holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and geology from Ain Shams University. He earned a master’s degree and a PhD in geology and geophysics from S&T in 1961 and 1964, respectively.
In 1986, El-Baz joined Boston University to establish and direct the Center for Remote Sensing. He developed methodologies for applying space-born data to scientific research efforts in geology, geography and archaeology. His work resulted in the location of groundwater resources in the Western Desert of Egypt, the Rajasthan of India, in Darfur of northwestern Sudan, the Sultanate of Oman, the Northern United Arab Emirates and Republic of Chad.
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