Expo 2020 Dubai thematic Space Week, which kicks off on October 17, features a wide range of activities including talk with pioneering Emirati astronauts. Image Credit:

Dubai: Learn more about climate change, food security, water management; or chat with pioneering Emirati astronauts and much more during Expo 2020 Dubai thematic Space Week, which kicks off on October 17.

There will be comprehensive discussions and presentations that will probe the benefits, solutions and challenges of exploring beyond our planet’s orbit during the weeklong event that will run until October 23.

Held in association with the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Space Week will revolve around engaging topics such as the UAE’s space vision; how space exploration is being used for good back on Earth; the international cooperation through new coalitions; partnerships in the space industry that are bringing together less-represented nations; women’s vital contributions to space exploration; sustainability in space; cleaning ‘space waste’; and intergenerational dialogues.

Space Week is the second of 10 theme weeks taking place throughout Expo, as part of the Programme for People and Planet.

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For all of humanity

“The safe, productive and responsible exploration of space is a growing priority for all of humanity,” noted Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai.

She added: “Nations large and small, economies developed and emerging, are today taking their first strides into space in the hope and expectation that what we learn will positively impact our lives on Earth, and beyond.”

“In the areas of climate change, food security, water management and much more, our understanding has the potential to be reshaped by what we learn from the sky above, whether through the study of carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere, or the intelligent application of satellite data for the benefit of agricultural development, or through advances in water purification that bring space station tech to villages in sub-Saharan Africa,” she continued.

Al Hashimy underlined: “At Expo 2020 Dubai we join with more than 60 nations in our exploration of this common good, and in the creation of partnerships that will ensure that the gains we make are achieved and shared globally. In the days of the original Space Race, in the early days of the UAE, we explored because we could. Half a century later on the occasion of the UAE Golden Jubilee, we explore because we must.”

International collaboration

The UAE’s latest announcement to explore Venus and the asteroid belt will also be highlighted during Space Week, with special focus on international collaboration and cooperation as well as creating a world-class space sector in the UAE.

Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chair of the UAE Space Agency said: “As we expand our horizons after launching an interplanetary journey to explore Venus and the asteroid belt, greater international collaboration and cooperation among space-faring nations has never been so important.”

“We play an active role in strengthening partnerships with leading organisations globally to promote peaceful and mutually beneficial space exploration. Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Week represents an opportunity to build on our long-standing relationships with a wide range of stakeholders to deliver on our mission: creating a world-class space sector in the UAE,” she added.

Advancement of human knowledge

MBRSC Director General Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani said: “To focus on the future of the space sector, we need improved cooperation between countries and other sectors to deliver on further discoveries and new revelations. We are certain that (Space Week) will hold meaningful and detailed discussions of the future of space and will further encourage development and innovation in the space sector and contribute to the advancement of human knowledge.”

What to explore?

On Sunday, October 17, don’t’ miss The People’s Mission: Citizens in Space Exploration and Space Tech for Inclusive Development. Co-curated with Mozambique, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United States this is a day for everyone — beginners and enthusiasts — with an interest in space. There will be an insightful chat with UAE astronauts Hazza Al Mansouri and Noura Al-Matroushi, as they showcase the wonders of the cosmos and demonstrate the accessibility of the space sector. They will also talk about bringing astronauts, popular astronomers and space scientists together to share their latest discoveries and missions.

On 18 October, there will be Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Business Forum, co-curated with Dubai Chamber. The stellar line-up includes Al Amiri; Naoko Yamazaki, former JAXA Astronaut, Space Policy Committee Member and the second Japanese woman in space; and high-level attendees from NASA and the national space agencies of Luxembourg and South Africa.

Four World Majlis sessions and one Women’s Pavilion Majlis will be hosted during Space Week. On October 21, Hope and Perseverance: Lessons Learnt from the Red Planet for Life on Earth will examine what the exploration of Mars suggests for the future of our species on another planet, with a panel from around the world.

Other events include Never Be Lost: Learn to Read the Stars on October 23 at the Australia Pavilion. This will bring together both digital and physical celestial presentations, culminating with a poetry reading by leading Emirati poet, artist and film director Nujoom Alghanem.

Also on 23 October, space travel and sustainability of the space environment will be discussed at Protecting the Great Unknown, to held at The Nexus for People & Planet in association with the UAE Space Agency and co-curated with Slovenia. The event will include a keynote speech by Maruška Strah, executive director at World Space Week.

Spacewalk app

Dubai Expo’s extra-terrestrial education will continue beyond October 23 as the curated Spacewalk visitor journey — a self-guided tour available via the Expo 2020 app — takes a voyage to the stars, exploring how off-world technology and discovery can change life on Earth for the better.

Stops on the journey include Alif — The Mobility Pavilion, which features the UAE space programme’s Mission Control, as well as space explorations in the national pavilions of Canada, France, India, Kazakhstan, New Zealand and Switzerland, plus the UAE University Pavilion.

Meanwhile, Al Wasl Plaza — the beating heart of Expo 2020 and home to the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface — will have two nightly projection shows about the cosmos and space. Lasting 15 minutes apiece, the shows embark on a voyage through the infinite, touching the face of Mars and bending space and time, as stars fall like raindrops.