JAPIE van Zyl, former director of Solar System Exploration at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has suffered a heart attack.
Van Zyl (63) was rushed to hospital in Pasadena, California, yesterday after returning from his morning jog, and is currently in a critical condition.
“The doctors say the next 48 hours are critical, and we are hoping for the best. His wife was with him, but she is not allowed to visit any more due to Covid-19 rules. We therefore don’t have much information, but we urge friends and family to pray with us,” his brother, Ben Van Zyl, said.
Van Zyl, who was born at Outjo and raised at Opuwo, has been motivating Namibian and South African young people to venture into science.
He often visits the youth at Walvis Bay and in Windhoek to host presentations on the wonders of the universe and Robotic Solar Systems Exploration.
He also often hosts various Skype presentations with Namibian pupils.
Van Zyl joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1986.