Dohaa Baker_Gaza post
Life is not always rosy, every person has his dream and ambition, and every person is also exposed to difficult circumstances that prevent him from continuing and progressing, especially if he lived in a city besieged for decades.
Gaza is a coastal Palestinian city, one of the most beautiful cities in Palestine, with an area of 365 square kilometers, but it has been besieged for many years since the 1967 war, which was among Israel, Syria and Egypt.
If you ask Gaza youth today, male or female, what is your dream? What is your ambition? Some will answer I do not have a dream, or I have no future here, and others will answer I want to travel to achieve my dream.
Unfortunately, this is our reality. Some of us view life negatively and blame others for this reality and do not even try to change, but rather give up and surrender to it.
But some do not know the impossible and those who do not despair, consider themselves that he will change the world for the better, some strive day and night to innovate and think to achieve their dream.
Like Loay Elbasyouni, who challenged the difficulties and difficult circumstances and worked day and night to fulfill his dream, to be the first Palestinian to reach Mars.
Who is Loay Elbasyouni? What is his success story? Who did help him to succeed and continue? many questions we will answer in this article in an exclusive interview conducted by the Gazapost correspondent with Loay Elbasyouni.
Loay Mohammad Hassan Elbasyoni, 42, a Palestinian electrical engineer who is a part of the NASA team that launched the Perseverance spacecraft to Mars last month. Besides, Loay has resurfaced as NASA prepares for the first helicopter flight on Mars later on Monday morning 19th of April.
Loay has Palestinian father and mother, who was born in Germany and returned to Gaza at the age of five to his father’s original country of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip to live his beautiful childhood with his three brothers. He studied elementary, preparatory and secondary schools in Gaza.
Loay’s childhood was not an ordinary one. He had a thinking and creative mind. He always dismantled electrical devices and reinstalled them again. He always repaired damaged devices and used to install antennas repeatedly until he picked up the Jordanian channel badges and other channels.
Do not be surprised that a child does these things because he dreamed of being a flight engineer.
Besides, He studied elementary and preparatory school in UNRWA schools. Then, he studied at the Carmel Secondary School for Boys.
Loay's childhood was not limited to reinstalling devices only, but he was an artist when he was ten years old and he used to paint with water and carve with plaster and he was also a professional photographer.
Who used to encourage Elbasyouni since his childhood?
"My mother always supported me and did not pressure me to do anything as long as I am doing the right thing and comfortable to do what I want even when I grew up, she did not impose me the speciality I want, but my father was very keen to become doctors, me and my brothers, so since our childhood, he always encouraged us to read more and more like reading stories, books, newspapers, and magazines.", Elbasyouni said.
Loay’s father’s desire was great for Loay and his brothers to become doctors. Then the elder fulfilled his hope and became a doctor like him. However, Loay and his brothers, their inclination was towards engineering.
Loay's university study
Loay finished high school to start a new and difficult journey away from his family, country and friends. In 1999, he travelled to Los Angeles and joined Kentucky University to start his journey with electrical and electronics engineering, but after two years he was no longer able to pay university fees due to Israel bulldozed his father oranges apricot and olives orchards in Gaza. Then the situation got worse day after day so he had to stop studying.
"The most difficult stage of my life", Loay Elbasyouni stated, "In 2001 the life worsened on the personal and financial levels due to the occupation bulldozed our lands in Beit Hanoun, so my fear for my family was very great, so I stopped studying for a year." Moreover, I had to work 100 hours a week in three pizzerias. "
Loay’s work was to deliver pizza for a year away from his studies and his dream until the time came and a group of young men assaulted him for no reason. Loay realized that this place was not his place and this life was not what he wants to decide to return to his studies as soon as possible.
But returning to the university was not an easy thing, so he had to pay 7 thousand dollars and renew the visa, and this requires him to return to Gaza to prepare new papers. Loay did not give up ,but decided to study at another university and presented it with the necessary papers and for his good fortune, he was accepted into the University of Louisville. The university counted his hours of studying in the first college .
So that, Loay completed his bachelor’s and master’s degree in this university and he was able with his effort to study the master’s degree in only two semesters in electronic engineering.
Reaching this university was not easy, so Loay used to drive 100 kilometres until he reached it. These Obestacles did not stop Loay and did not disappoint him at all, but he continued on his way and continued his dream despite his longing for his family, as he did not see them for 12 years.
As an Arab in exile, did you face problems such as racial discrimination?
Loay clarified that the country where he lives now "California", there are strict laws against racial discrimination, this country gathers all nationalities such as whites, blacks, Indians and Afghans. Moreover, I was working with a team of different nationalities and I did not feel for a moment that I was rejected.
Do you encourage the smart brain drain?
Loay assured that he is aware all the time about the conditions that Gaza is subjected to and how harsh it is and that it has become more difficult than before. He also knows that there are no opportunities for innovation and creativity, such as his dream, for example, to be an aeronautical engineer, but the country’s situation does not allow for that. A person has to work and innovate until he has the opportunity to travel, he added that he does not encourage a person, who travels to succeed outside his country, but he must work and succeed inside his country and try once, twice and three because a person does not succeed and does not achieve anything from the first time.
The professional journey
After Loay finished university, his biggest concern was improving the environment, preserving nature, getting rid of the effects of petroleum or even changing the composition of petroleum, so he worked in car manufacturers working on solar and electric energy. His goal was never to work in a well-known or famous company, he was only joining For small businesses and companies that start their way until they find a company in California that makes solar and hydrogen-powered aeroplanes.
How did you get to NASA?
NASA-JPL hired a company to co-develop a helicopter that would fly on Mars, to become first ever controlled flight outside planet earth. Loay was selected to an Electrical Engineer lead and Power Electronics Lead, he was company top power electronics engineer and held title of Sr. Staff Power Electronics engineer. Loay had best design experience very low weight motor/controllers.
Working with NASA is not easy at all, as it requires double effort. This project took nearly 7 years, and the vehicle design phase took nearly four years.
Elbasyouni’s work was limited to making the Motor/controller for this project, this project is a vehicle that contains four main motor. It was not easy for Loay to meet requirements for this spacecraft easily, as the temperature on Mars is very low, reaching minus 100, which affects the way Especially on electronic devices, so Loay invented a heater to raise the temperature of the vehicle.
When did the trip to Mars begin?
The Mars Perseverance rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. The Mars Perseverance mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. The Mars Perseverance rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a "cache" on the surface of Mars.
The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.
The rover is set to land on Mars in Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. Learn more about the rover’s entry, descent and landing and tune in to watch the landing online according to NASA.
Did Loay Elbasyouni 's helicopter succeed?
Monday, 19/April/2021 NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at 6:46 a.m. EDT (3:46 a.m. PDT) according to NASA.
Loay Elbasyouni entered history like the Wright brothers. He will write his name in books and will study for young and old and will not be forgotten over the years.
Watch this video of the helicopter's flight on Mars from here.
Great joy filled Loay's heart after this achievement and after this historical moment. This success is not only for Loay or NASA but for the Palestinian people.
"Being part of a large team, especially that I am Palestinian, and that my name and the name of Palestine will be remembered in history, this is a very great feeling," Loay said.
How to become a successful engineer?
Loay Elbasyouni advises every engineer to read in his field, such as reading other people's inventions, work and achievements to benefit and learn from them, follow international institutions and always do and invent things outside of their work and not be confined to their work only.
Loay added, the successful engineer helps his colleagues, develops their ideas and innovates with them
He also said whoever wants to succeed will think outside the box and work to benefit himself, his family and his community.
Loay Elbasyouni concluded his meeting with the Gazapost correspondent with a message for young people
An advice that young people need now in Palestine and outside Palestine, how can young people, male or female, overcome these harsh conditions, material, social or psychological, and complete their journey, whether in education or work?
Loay says that everyone must believe in himself, love what he does, and study the field he loves in order to reach success.
Elbasyouni added, "Do not work to achieve a name, but work to change yourself and change your society, so you must read and not occupy yourself with things that do not benefit you."
"Man must change the world in different ways, far from politics and wars, but with study, work and creativity."
He also said, "The community around you is different, so you must think of different ways to deal with it and to make it better, you must be part of any change."
Elbasyouni concluded his advice by saying, "I do not deny the difficult conditions our society is going through, political, social, financial, and psychological, but we must overcome them and do not forget that the world around us will not change. Rather, you will change the world, as Gandhi says, "Be the change you want to see in the world.” "
To follow all the new developments of Loay’s inventions and trips to Mars, and for more messages of hope and optimism, you can follow Loay through his social media accounts: