Dubai: Expo launches Space Week on Saturday, presenting an array of content, discussions and more that will probe the benefits, solutions and challenges of exploring beyond our planet’s orbit.
The out-of-this-world event, which runs from 17-23 October and is held in association with the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), will appeal to all ages, including everything from high-level discussions to a chat with two of the UAE’s first astronauts.
It will tackle engaging topics such as the UAE’s space vision; how space exploration is being used for good back on Earth; the international co-operation through new coalitions and partnerships in the space industry that are bringing together less-represented nations; women’s vital contributions to space exploration; sustainability in space and cleaning ‘space waste’; and intergenerational dialogues.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said “The safe, productive and responsible exploration of space is a growing priority for all of humanity. 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.
“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.”
Her Excellency 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”
Launching the event on 17 October, 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 USA, is a day for everyone – beginners and enthusiasts – with an interest in space.
Featuring chats with astronauts Hazza Al Mansouri and Noura Al-Matroushi, it will showcase the wonders of the cosmos and demonstrate the accessibility of the space sector, bringing astronauts, popular astronomers and space scientists together to share their latest discoveries and missions.
Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director-General, MBRSC, said: “We are proud to host The People’s Mission: Citizens in Space Exploration event during Space Week at Expo 2020, and we look forward to welcoming the international space community and global stakeholders to Dubai.
“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 the event 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.”
Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Business Forum, co-curated with Dubai Chamber, on 18 October, will focus on the sustainable growth of the international space sector and creating value to society. The stellar line-up includes Her Excellency Sarah 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 21 October, 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. With private companies competing against each other and governments, what will the priorities – scientific, commercial and ethical – be in our quest to explore the Red Planet?
Other events include Never Be Lost: Learn to Read the Stars on 23 October at the AustraliaPavilion, part of the Cultures in Conversation series programmed by Alserkal, which 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, 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, World Space Week.
Expo’s extra-terrestrial enjoyment doesn’t end when Space Week finishes on 23 October, however. The curated Space Walk 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.
Visitors can also leave orbit at Al Wasl Plaza – the beating heart of Expo 2020 and home to the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface – which hosts 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.
Space Week is the second of 10 Theme Weeks taking place throughout Expo as part of the Programme for People and Planet, in an exchange of inspiring new perspectives that tackle the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time, including climate, connectivity, the future of human health and much more.