Hope Mars Mission: UAE students explore space in classrooms
More students are now considering careers around space sciences, thanks to the outreach efforts of the Hope Mission team.
Educationists in the UAE are curating curricula to meet the increasing interest among youth to explore space.
More students are now considering careers around space sciences, thanks to the outreach efforts of the Hope Mission team, who have been visiting schools and universities and producing exciting multimedia on the subject.
The UAE space mission to the International Space Station and the Mars Hope probe launch have impacted the Arab world and more people are opening doors to make intellectual investments in the region.
Educators are building high-quality content to help students harness these interests. "We are developing content in collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) as well as other industry partners. It is integrated then into our school curriculum, extra-curricular activities, guest speakers, competitions and events in the school calendar," said Zeeshan Nabi, director of IT and chief innovation and digital officer at Gems International School - Al Khail.
"Students also have access to drone technology, flight simulators and pathways to specific aviation and aeronautical courses," he added.
Dr Vajahat Hussain, CEO of Amity Education - Middle East, said that watching the UAE's first astronaut in space has inspired students to dream big. "We received an astronaut badge from the UAE Space Agency last year. We also had a space professional interact with students and answered all their questions related to the field and profession."
Universities and scholarships
UAE varsities are collaborating with community partners to offer enhanced pathways for students.
Ilias Fernini, vice-director-general for research and scientific projects at the Sharjah Academy of Astronomy, Space sciences and Technology (SAASST), said: "The University of Sharjah is starting two masters programmes related to space. The Masters in Astronomy and Space Sciences will use SAASST's research laboratories - Radio Astronomy Laboratory, Space Weather and Ionospheric Laboratory, CubeSat Laboratory, Meteorite Centre and Sharjah Optical Observatory. The second MSc is related to Aerospace Engineering, which will allow students to pursue their careers in space engineering and satellite designs."
Scholarships are being provided to Emiratis wanting to pursue studies in space, he added. "The UAE nationals are fully supported through scholarships given by the University of Sharjah, UAE Space Agency and the MBRSC," he said.
According to Dr Nidhal Guessoum, professor of Physics at the American University of Sharjah, an increasing number of students are registering for the Physics major, seeking astrophysics and space faculty for research.
With a Satellite Ground Station the Amity Education Middle East is inspiring young minds to seek space exploration as a career. "The Hope probe has lit a flame in every child in the Arab World," said Dr Hussain.
Kids learn the basics through astronomy groups
Organisations like the Dubai Astronomy Group and Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre are encouraging students to explore astronomical concepts.
"Students can start by looking to study the subjects first, that are related to space technology like science and engineering. We provide courses and camps where children can expose themselves to different kinds of knowledge that are required to pursue their interest in space. We also do a few programmes where children can closely understand and explore how scientists are working in this field," said Hasan Ahmad Al Hariri, CEO, Dubai Astronomy Group.
"We provide a line of services which are accessible through our website. Children can work with us as interns and learn about space technologies and space science. Additionally, we provide connections in terms of what and where to pursue careers in future with regards to space," he added.
Seizing the opportunity in the UAE market, international companies are partnering with the growing space education sector, said Shaneer Nusrat Siddiqui, project coordinator of Dubai Astronomy Group. "Insights from global space education firms will benefit students in the UAE and give them an opportunity to compete with international students," he said.
Space-themed virtual camps
Space-themed virtual camps are gaining traction among kids this summer with many international training companies offering customised space courses.
"Our camp has been timed to coincide with the launch of the Hope probe to enable students to further explore their interest in space which is at a peak due to this milestone," Gautam Agawarim, co-founder of India Stem and Space, told Khaleej Times.
"We have been conducting 'Cosmic Jaunt' summer camps for students in India for the past few years. This same camp is now being launched virtually, especially for the UAE students," he added.