An astronomical impact on youth

Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, and Deputy Project Manager and Science Lead of the UAE's Mars Mission, Hope Probe
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, and Deputy Project Manager and Science Lead of the UAE's Mars Mission, Hope Probe

The mission inspires young minds to pursue the field of science and technology, while contributing to a sustainable economy



Published: Mon 20 Jul 2020, 12:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 20 Jul 2020, 2:22 PM

For decades, science fiction and pop culture gave rise to the wildest of imagination and impressive concepts depicting life in space - from jetting off to explore planets to mining for minerals on an alien base or residing in a settlement in the deep unknown. Technology has since evolved, bringing us closer to these possibilities, with the UAE is further connecting youth with opportunities to embark on new ventures. The UAE Astronaut Programme emerged in 2017 as part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, as a platform to train space explorers and support the country's vision to procure habitable planets and resources in the future.

Initiated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the programme would prepare a corporation of Emirati astronauts who would embark on missions of space exploration, scientific discoveries and further encourage generations to pursue the exciting prospects that lie in space and technology.  
Sheikh Mohammed envisioned the Mars Mission to develop skills of Emirati youth in that direction.

"The skills of engineers to design and develop complex systems (as done in the Mars Mission) is a key component of industrial innovation. Many people focus on manufacturing but the design and development of products are more valuable in today's industrial development," said Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, and Deputy Project Manager and Science Lead of the UAE's Mars Mission, Hope Probe.
Speaking about the mission's inspiration on Emirati youth to study science and technology-related subjects, Al Amiri said: "There are ever expanding opportunities being created for them when it comes to working in the sciences and engineering. As the economy grows and diversifies further, more such opportunities will come up."
She added: "We are now living at a time in the UAE where it is possible to work in any area that somebody wishes to work in."

As part of the Mars Mission, the minister and her team conducted a lot of educational and outreach programmes for youth of various ages to offer in-depth knowledge on building the systems and the role of scientists, researchers and engineers in space sector.
The Mars Mission has also resulted in a quantum leap for the UAE's Mars science capability, with a programme designed to train young engineers at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in science data analysis and research. "We've also included research experience and arranged an apprentice programme for our engineering team abroad, where they worked with world renowned scientists in the areas of research," she explained.

Appetite for new ventures

The mission will pave the way for new projects and enterprises, besides inspiring companies and SMEs in various sectors to take risks, mitigate them and succeed.
"There is a greater appetite for risk in the Mars Mission, which is a project that is five times more complex than any other space mission we have undertaken," she added.


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