Neil deGrasse Tyson with Saeed Al Gergawi, who leads the UAE’s 100-year space exploration plan. Image Credit: Huda Tabrez

Dubai: Speaking to a packed hall at the World Government Summit (WGS), Neil deGrasse Tyson, American physicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium, shared images of illustrations of the cities of the future as imagined by artists decades ago and noticed a similarity to where he was.

Many of the skylines depicted in the illustrations were similar to the current skyline in Dubai.

Speaking about the focus the UAE has placed on space exploration and the city of the future, he said: “Everything is in place to bring a force of nature onto the ambitions of the next generation.

"I know what that feels like, I experienced that and it has faded across the ocean for me, and I’m delighted to see a resurgence of that here in the Middle East. This is drawing what is already a legacy.”


Talking about the real challenges that human beings face in space exploration, deGrasse Tyson highlighted the challenge of funding above all else.

“It’s hard to get money for research on fields that the public does not complete understand...,” he said.

However, deGrasse Tyson felt space exploration had an enormous impact on culture.

“Space is a gateway subject to the sciences, it is the ideal driver into the STEM fields, which are the engines of tomorrow’s economy. If you want to become an innovation nation, invest in a space project.”