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Dubai Mars City to have a space robotics facility

muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 30, 2021
Clockwise from top left: Peter Montgomery, director of commercialisation, Jacobs Space Operations Group; Adnan Al Rais, program manager, Mars 2117 Program and senior director, Remote Sensing Department, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre; David Pile, regional director, Space Systems, UK, Europe, and Mena, Northrop Grumman Corporation; Danny Sebright, president, US-UAE Business Council; and Thomas Bruns, senior regional commercial officer, US Department of Commerce, at the webinar. — Supplied photo

First-of-its-kind project will simulate the environment of Mars from Dubai to support technological development and scientific discoveries


Dubai Mars City, a Dh500 million project that stimulates the conditions of life on Mars, will include state-of-the-art facilities to support technological development and scientific discoveries in years to come, says a senior official.

Adnan Al Rais, program manager at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, said the city will include a space robotics facility, closed habitat/analog facility, and space sustainability lab.

"Mars Science City will simulate the environment of Mars from Dubai to support technological development and scientific discoveries," Al Rais said during a webinar co-hosted by the US Commercial Service and the US-UAE Business Council.

The webinar, which also featured speakers from Northrop Grumman and Jacobs, is part of the US Commercial Service’s Discover America trade talk series. A video of the session can be found here.

Dubai Mars City, which will cover 1.9 million square feet, will be largest ever space simulation city ever built. It will also have labs for food, energy and water as well as agricultural testing.

In addition, a museum will also be a part of the project that will be constructed using 3D printing technology and sand from the UAE desert.

The ambitious project, which is expected to be fully operational this decade, will provide a realistic model to stimulate living on the red planet.

UAE space program

Al Rais also charted the trajectory of the UAE space program and opportunities for partnership in the years ahead.

"The Mars 2117 program demonstrates the UAE government’s commitment to continuing to invest in space for the next 100 years, building local capacity, and working with international partners," Al Rais said.

Al Rais also shared details about the Emirates Lunar Mission, which will send a rover to the moon. Al Rais spoke of this mission as a means to develop certain scientific capabilities.

Al Rais, who is a program manager for the Mars 2117 Program and senior director of the Remote Sensing Department at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, also shared insights into the accomplishments and plans of the “four major components” of the UAE Space Program.

The UAE Satellite Development Program, which has launched a series of increasingly sophisticated satellites and is set to launch a next generation earth observation satellite, “MBZ Sat,” in 2023.

The Emirates Mars Mission 'Hope Probe,' which successfully inserted into Martian orbit this February and is preparing for its first data release in October 202.

The Mars 2117 Program, which seeks to establish a lasting colony on Mars by 2117.

The UAE Astronaut Program, which sent its first astronaut to space in 2019 and recently announced the selection of the first Arab female astronaut to be trained with Nasa for future space exploration missions.

Al Rais also emphasised the critical role of the US private sector in supporting the UAE’s space programs. He stressed that opportunities abound in the UAE not just for large US companies but also SMEs. Moreover, he spoke of the UAE’s desire for potential US partners to contribute to the development of the UAE’s space ecosystem through knowledge transfer.

Peter Montgomery, director of Commercialisation at Jacobs Space Operations Group – Nasa’s largest professional and technical services provider, and David Pile, regional director of Space Systems for the UK, Europe, and Mena at Northrop Grumman Corporation, also participated in the panel discussion.

The panel concluded by highlighting opportunities for US companies to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai, which will have a dedicated space week from October 12-23, 2021, and the USA Pavilion at the Expo. That same month, from October 25-29, the UAE will also host a major space conference, the International Astronautical Congress. From November 14-18, 2021, the UAE will once again host the Dubai Airshow.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com

author

Muzaffar Rizvi

Business Editor/News Editor of Khaleej Times is a well-connected journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the mainstream journalism since 1997, covering the UAE's economy and key sectors. He holds a post-graduate degree in Economics and has won many awards for authentic and insightful reports on global and regional businesses and economic trends.





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