Essam Mohamed Haji, a young researcher at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), said that he had received approval from NASA to put Sally Zahran's name on a microship that will head for Mars.
Sally Zahran was mercilessly clubbed to death during the recent Tahrir Square demonstrations. Haji said in a telephone call from his office in California that it was a tradition of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to write the names of notable people on spacecraft at the request of NASA staff members or US citizens.
Haji said he had requested that Zahran's name be emblazoned on the spacecraft to honor the young woman's courage.
“This is the least we could do for Egypt's youth and the revolutionaries. This step represents the transfer of the dreams of Egyptian young people from a small stretch of earth to the enormous expanse of space,” Haji told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Haji added that "standing in Tahrir is like setting foot upon the moon." He likened those standing in the hard-fought square–a central site of Egypt's recent protests–to the first man who set foot upon the moon. He said both had been started by a dream and had changed the world's views on human potential.
“Today, millions of young people are taking the first steps on the path to freedom with the same courage with which Armstrong stepped upon the moon for the first time. These young people have been subject to marginalization, alienation and repression for over than 30 years. The role of security agents was to protect only the elite while employing repression against the poor,” said Haji.