February 6, 2024 Chiang Mai, Thailand

On February 6, 2024, Ambassador Robert F. Godec, the Ambassador of the United States of America to Thailand, accompanied by Consul General Lisetta B. Anziano, Consul General of the United States in Chiang Mai, embarked on a significant visit to the Thai National Observatory (TNO) situated on Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai, Thailand. The esteemed delegation, including representatives from the U.S. Embassy, was warmly welcomed by Dr. Saran Poshyachinda, Executive Director of the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT), and Dr. Wiphu Rujopakarn, Deputy Director of NARIT, along with the dedicated staff.

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During their visit, Dr. Saran Poshyachinda and Dr. Wiphu Rujopakarn provided a comprehensive tour for the Ambassador and Consul General. They were guided through the intricate workings of the 2.4-meter and 1-meter in-house optical telescopes, where they had the opportunity to observe celestial wonders such as M-42 (the Orion Nebula), M-81, Sirius, the Eskimo Nebula, and Jupiter's Moons. Additionally, the delegation visited the telescope control room, gaining valuable insights into the daily operations and research endeavors undertaken by astronomers at the observatory.


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Moreover, the visit facilitated crucial discussions between NARIT and the U.S. Embassy, focusing on several key areas of mutual interest:

-         Developments on Regional Cooperation in Space Exploration: Discussions centered around fostering regional cooperation among Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, and Vietnam for the peaceful use of outer space. This initiative aims to promote collaboration in space research and exploration endeavors within the region.

-         Potential U.S. Contribution to Air Quality Research: Both parties explored the potential for U.S. involvement in air quality research initiatives in Thailand. Addressing environmental concerns, particularly air quality, has become increasingly vital, and the U.S. expressed interest in supporting Thailand's efforts in this area.

-         Updates on the U.S. Artemis Program: The delegation received updates on the progress of the U.S. Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the Moon and pave the way for future missions to Mars. Discussions revolved around potential collaboration opportunities and Thailand's participation in the program.

The visit underscored the importance of scientific cooperation and diplomatic engagement between the United States and Thailand. It highlighted the shared commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding in the fields of astronomy, space exploration, and environmental research. As collaboration between the two nations continues to strengthen, such visits play a crucial role in fostering lasting partnerships and driving progress in scientific endeavors.