Why space exploration is important to the UAE

Humans have always been explorers, we’ve explored continents, continue exploring oceans and space. This instinct to explore is what drove Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut to venture into space; and the UAE’s launch of the Hope probe, which is the first probe to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere.

However, as the UAE delves further into exploring space, the question of why space exploration is important and how it benefits the country might arise.

How can space exploration benefit the UAE?

  • Provides clear vision and encourages innovation:

    The human instinct to explore and push the limits gives a sense of clear vision that drives technology and innovation forward by encouraging individuals to engage in science and engineering.
    Nidhal Guessoum, an astrophysicist and professor at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE said: “Hope (probe) means that we turn away from the conflicts and focus on human and economic development.”

  • Economic Growth:

    Space exploration supports economic prosperity as it introduces a new industry and creates numerous jobs that did not previously exist. This is evident in how the MBRSC (Mohammad bin Rashid Space Centre) created jobs for young UAE nationals.

  • Generates hope for the future:

    "Today I am really glad that the children in the Emirates will wake up on the morning of the 20th of July having an anchor project of their own, having a new reality, having new possibilities, allowing them to further contribute and to create a larger impact on the world." – Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, the science lead on the Hope probe.

    Sarah Al Amiri’s words showcase the most valuable benefit of space exploration that the UAE will experience – hope for the future. Generations of Emiratis and UAE residents who grow up seeing the UAE’s progress in exploring space will be motivated to study science, technology and engineering.

Why is space exploration important?

  • New technologies and research:

    Space exploration was driving force behind the development of various technologies that make our lives easier today. Without space research, we would not have weather satellites or freeze-dried food as these were all initially invented for space exploration.

  • Experiments in Space:

    The International Space Station is conducting numerous experiments. Its microgravity atmosphere and presence in low-Earth orbit provides a unique vantage point for conducting experiments that cannot be held on Earth; such as the difference in cell and tissue growth in long-term microgravity.

    Hazza Al Mansouri participated in and conducted similar microgravity experiments while he was at the International Space Station. His vitals were also checked before and after the trip to understand how the human body reacts in space. This research addresses the risks to human health from residence in a microgravity environment. The results provide crucial insight for future long-term missions to outer space.

  • Protection against future catastrophic asteroids:

    Earth has never been immune to asteroid collisions. In the past, comets and asteroid have hit the Earth causing mass extinctions each time. Our only hope of being completely safe from destructive space rocks is by designing a space program that could deflect such objects.

  • Space Mining:

    Natural resources on Earth continue to deplete every day. Not only are we quickly running out of precious resources (such as oil in the Gulf region), but the extraction of these materials has also led to environmental damage. Space mining would significantly reduce these problems as there is an abundance of natural resources in space, providing us with an unlimited supply.

Mankind has and will always have a fascination with the unknown. Curiosity, determination and extraordinary technological advancements has led us to explore alien lands, which was once thought impossible. Space tourism is already here and is likely to inspire a new generation of engineers and space enthusiasts. The future of space exploration is likely to be less cost prohibitive and more inclusive with possibilities as vast as space itself.

Ghazia Bhojani is a young, aspiring writer based in Dubai. Her writing covers a range of topics including the arts, mental health and lifestyle.

The content reflects the view of the author of the article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Citi or its employees, and we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article except information on Citibank N.A. – UAE products referenced herein.

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