Dr Jim Rice Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A senior Nasa expert will inspire UAE students at the first Space and Rocketry Academy Camp to be held in the country this summer from July 15 to August 23, the UAE Space Agency and Compass International said on Tuesday.

Expert Dr Jim Rice has played major roles in Nasa’s Mars exploration missions, including Mars Pathfinder, Mars Polar Landing, Mars Odyssey and Mars Exploration Rover.

Students aged nine to 18 years are able to attend the Space and Rocketry Academy Camp, held weekly this summer.

Dr Rice is one of several seasoned space sector experts who are set to provide inspirational and engaging sessions for youth interested in space sciences.

The programme follows curriculums outlined by the UAE Space Agency, in addition to other major space agencies such as Nasa and Roscosmos.

As well as understanding details about a range of Mars missions from dedicated experts, students will gain valuable knowledge about living and working in space. They will also try space food and learn about rocket propulsion, as well as build working model rockets.

Throughout the Space and Rocketry Academy Camp, Nasa instructors will be able to provide advice and guidance for young students interested in future careers in the space sector, or related science and engineering fields.

“One of our central mandates at the UAE Space Agency is to inspire a future generation of space pioneers and provide them with the opportunities necessary to pursue a fulfilling career in the space sector and industry,” said Dr Mohammad Al Ahbabi, director-general of the UAE Space Agency.

He added the Space and Rocketry Academy Camp is giving students access to a world-class space educational programme here in the UAE for the first time.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr Jim Rice to the UAE, who brings wide expertise and experience from active Mars exploration missions. This is particularly relevant for us, given our ongoing efforts to explore the Red Planet — particularly the Hope Probe orbiter that will gather crucial data on the Martian atmosphere,” said Dr Al Ahbabi.

Meanwhile, Compass International, the regional partner for the Nasa visitor centre and the US Space and Rocket Centre in the United States, is also offering students an Innovation Academy summer camp. Students will experience learning through creative challenges in either engineering and science or creative, performing arts and improvisation-based activities.

They will also get the chance to sharpen their skills for the 21st century, with Mars exploration forming one of the event’s ‘instant challenge’ topics.

Another first for the UAE, students aged seven to 14 years can look forward to learning skills in creativity and innovation, critical thinking, collaboration and teamwork, and communication. The Innovation Academy will run over the same six-week period at the same location as the Space and Rocketry Academy. Both programmes include instruction from international staff, programme materials, all supplies, as well as a daily lunch meal and snack break.


Event: Space and Rocketry Academy Camp and Innovation Academy summer camp

Date: July 15 to August 23

Time: Weekdays from 10am to 4pm

Venue: Lapita Hotel Ballroom, Dubai Parks and Resorts

Price: Registration fee for the camp is Dh2,650