Mohammad Al Hammadi (left) with Dr Mohammed Adnan,Reasercher at the Crypto Labs, new space science academy in Abu Dhabi's Masdar city near Airport- academy has been approved by the UAE's Space Agency. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Hoping to inspire the next generation of space enthusiasts, a Space Science Academy has been launched in Abu Dhabi with the goal of educating young students about what space is like through an interactive and immersive experience.

The weeklong initiative is part of a collaborative effort involving Laboxatory, Algorythma, and Krypo Labs. The programme aims to become a long-term one in the capital, with its first edition seeing 36 students signed up to take part in the academy.

“The space academy is a programme that brings science to young students in an interactive and fun way. The students who attend the academy get to ask questions, they get to use their hands and build things, putting concepts they learn into practice,” said Dr Saleh Al Hashemi, managing director of Krypto Labs and chief executive officer of Algorythma.

“The UAE has a very active space programme and it’s something the country is taking very seriously. If you want to keep pushing the frontiers, you have to work with the human capital — especially the young. Science is all about curiosity, and kids are born to be curious so in a way all children are really scientists. This makes it important for us to offer them the right space and ecosystem that will allow them to thrive,” he added.

Mohammad Al Hammadi, a 10-year-old Emirati student attending the academy, said his future aspiration was to become a space scientist.

“I hope to become a space scientist when I grow up. Space is something that I am very interested about, and so I was happy when I heard about this academy, it’s been a lot of fun for me because the workshops have been really interesting and we also got the chance to use tools to build things,” he said.

Shama Saleh Al Hashemi, another Emirati student aged 11, said she decided to join the academy because she wanted to learn about space.

“I don’t know much about space, I never really studied about the subject and so that’s why I joined the academy. I have learnt a lot, and what’s been nice is that you learn in a fun and exciting way. I enjoyed the virtual reality experience; it made me feel like I was in space. I don’t know if I want to become a space scientist in the future, but it’s definitely an interesting subject and I have learnt so much about it.”

Mira Ahmad Al Mazroui, 13, and also from the UAE, said that she wanted to have a future job in the space sector, adding that girls too can be involved in contributing to space science.

“I love space and I hope to become a space engineer when I grow up. The space academy has been great; we got to be involved in so many different activities and learning new things. This is a good way to learn as well because you get to have fun and do things while they teach you at the same time.

“Girls can definitely become space scientists, not just the boys, it’s for both girls and boys,” she added.