Image Credit: YouTube/UAE Space Agency
Today we celebrated the 4th anniversary of @uaespaceagency & the achievements the national space sector has witnessed since its inception, which continue to strengthen the UAE’s position within this vital sector on a global level & in the development of our national capabilities pic.twitter.com/EwPQOt3fOq
– د. أحمد بالهول (@ahmad_belhoul) July 12, 2018
Despite being relatively new to the international arena, the fledgling space agency has demonstrated a willingness to be bold and take risks that larger entities might not.
– وكالةالإمارات للفضاء (@uaespaceagency) July 12, 2018
Earlier this year the UAE announced $500,000 in grants with a preference for “innovative high-risk, high reward” projects. (Time to dust off those Death Star blueprints if you have them – and we know somebody does.)
Interestingly, they also seem to be the only nation making consistent and measurable strides towards establishing a human colony on Mars. The “City of Wisdom” – a massive multimillion dollar research simulation – is currently under construction in the Emirati desert.
Their reasons for colonizing Mars, however, hit a little closer to home: if we can develop a society that is sustainable on an inhospitable planet, these inventions will transform the quality of life on Earth.
According to Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency:
Take a look at the Mars 2117 City of Wisdom 360° VR simulation below:
Having made so much progress in a short amount of time, the UAE Space Agency seems poised to continue advancing at speeds outpacing escape velocity.
2019 will witness a historic first when the first UAE astronaut boards the International Space Station for ten days as part of the Soyuz MS-12 mission – and they’re within days of announcing official selections. In 2020 the agency plans to launch the Hope Probe. It is expected to land on the Red Planet in 2021 in correspondence with the 50th anniversary of the UAE union.
Their eye to the future extends to the next generation, as well. Six high school teachers from the UAE will train with NASA scientists at the Honeywell Educators Space Academy. The teachers will undergo 45 hours of training in one intense week, bringing their experiences and inspiration back to the students they teach.
Buthaina Abandah, one of the teachers, emphasized the program’s importance:
We have a responsibility here to make space the focus for future generation of Emiratis. This is a good start and by doing these kinds of space camps it really helps the teachers and students.
As for the Martian colony in 2117? Given that the UAE Space Agency is less concerned with small steps and more interested in giant leaps for mankind, we wouldn’t be surprised if they beat their own deadline. If they’ve taught us anything in the last four years, it’s that the future is now.