UAE seeks to explore more space frontiers - GulfToday

UAE seeks to explore more space frontiers


After Mars, the UAE moves ahead confidently to stamp its footprints on its celestial neighbour.

If there is one unique quality that the UAE has, it is that it not only dreams new goals and ambitions, but also follows it up like nobody does. Few countries can do that. Take the Dubai Metro for instance.

In 2004, five consortiums were selected to build the first stretch of the Metro. Work officially started in March 2006, and just three years later, on September 9, 2009, the first train was flagged off by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who was also the first passenger to board the driverless transport mode.

It is not just on land that the UAE has come up trumps, it is also made inroads into the world of outer space too.

It is a newcomer to the world of space exploration but is quickly making its mark. In September 2019, the country sent the first Emirati into space as part of a three-member crew that blasted off on a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan for an eight-day mission.

Then in February, its “Hope” probe successfully entered Mars’ orbit on a journey to reveal the secrets of Martian weather, making history as the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.

As if the Mars mission were not enough, it is following up on one more adventure: exploration of the moon.

Lunar exploration company iSpace will transport a United Arab Emirates rover to the moon in 2022, the company said on Wednesday, as the UAE seeks to expand its space sector.

The UAE is pushing for rapid expansion in the space exploration business to diversify its economy.

Japanese company iSpace, founded in 2010, aims to provide commercial transportation to the moon with a wider mission to ultimately incorporate the moon into the earth’s economy.

The 2022 launch will be iSpace’s first mission of this kind and will use a Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, to be launched from Florida. Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) will build the Rashid lunar rover. It will remain on the moon after data collection is completed, said Emirates Lunar Mission manager Hamad al-Marzooqi.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the Emirati-made rover will cover “areas not yet reached in previous exploration missions”.

The project marks another first for the UAE, making it the first trip to the moon by an Arab country.

The Dubai Media Office has said that the 10-kilogramme (22-pound) rover will be an integral part of efforts to build the first settlement on Mars in 2117 – one of the UAE’s most ambitious plans.

Where Mars is concerned, it has made an incredible and indelible impression on one and all, not only in the UAE but beyond its shores.

In February, the UAE Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), the first interplanetary mission undertaken by an Arab nation, made a major milestone for the mission as the Hope Probe reached its Mars Orbit Insertion, MOI, completing its 7-month journey to Mars.

Space exploration can also help teach the public about climate change and spur action to curb global warming, Europe’s top space official said recently.

From the heating caused by greenhouse gases to the need to reuse resources, space missions can show people what might happen to the Earth in the future, said Jan Woerner, director-general of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Truly, where innovation in the UAE is concerned, space is just the beginning. For an Arab country, the UAE is the quintessential trailblazer, the unique pathbreaker, the all-time achiever. Few countries can map the horizons of creativity such as the UAE can. And with an impressive bank of Emirati talent, it can show the world not just what can be done, but how.

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