Al Neyadi performing maintenance on the Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory inside the International Space Station Image Credit: Twitter/@MBRSpaceCentre

Abu Dhabi: Those interested in video calling UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi before he departs from the International Space Station (ISS) can head to Abu Dhabi tomorrow, August 3, as the second last edition of ‘A Call from Space’ with him will be held in the capital.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the agency behind the UAE Astronaut Programme, made the announcement on Wednesday.

“As Al Neyadi’s mission nears its end, this event marks an opportunity for the public in Abu Dhabi to engage with the Emirati astronaut one last time before his return, highlighting the significance of the UAE’s space ambitions and the inspiring journey of Sultan Al Neyadi,” MBRSC stated.

MBRSC will hold the final edition of the event in partnership with Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The event promises a unique opportunity for attendees to converse live with Al Neyadi, conducting the longest Arab space mission on the ISS during his final month in space before he embarks on his journey back to Earth.

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Event details

The session will take place at the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, with the event set to commence from 1:45pm, MBRSC stated. The doors will open at 12:45pm and close at 1:40pm.

Considering the limited seating capacity, enthusiasts are urged to confirm their presence by visiting the website of Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The successful series has so far engaged more than 9,600 participants across the UAE, providing a unique perspective into Al Neyadi’s historic longest Arab space mission and fostering interactive dialogue with him.

On Thursday, Al Neyadi will complete five months on the ISS, contributing to various scientific experiments and essential maintenance tasks.

His latest activities on the ISS included performing maintenance on the Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory (SABL), a research incubator. The SABL supports a wide variety of biology and botany investigations, including physics and materials science experiments.

Growing palm tree in space

In another interactive session with the students of the International Space University in Brazil on Tuesday night, Al Neyadi expressed his wish to grow dates in space.

Responding to a question about what food he would prefer to grow in space, he said: “Honestly, this is something we already do here onboard the space station. We have facilities to grow plants. We have the facility to grow some vegetables. So it’s an ongoing science and we have some astronauts who try the space-grown food. It is difficult, but personally, I would love to have maybe some palm trees with dates.”

Reflecting on the serene view of Earth from space Al Neyadi emphasised the need to safeguard its tranquillity. He underscored the importance of preserving our planet’s natural resources and delicate balance, which is in contrast with the self-sustained environment aboard the space station where almost everything is recycled and regenerated. Al Neyadi also called for a shift in perspective, urging people on Earth to recognise our responsibility in protecting and cherishing the planet’s beauty and harmony for future generations.

The UAE Astronaut Programme is one of the projects managed by MBRSC under the UAE’s National Space Programme and funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE and promote the country’s integration on the global stage.