Expo 2020: Touch a piece of the Moon; meet 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy

Dubai - Other unmissable exhibits include rare copy of the Holy Quran once owned by former US President Thomas Jefferson


Anjana Sankar

Published: Wed 13 Oct 2021, 9:54 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Oct 2021, 7:56 PM

Expo 2020 has 190 country pavilions and a mind-boggling number of events and exhibits lined up throughout the six months.

But the world fair has brought some of the rarest of rare objects to Dubai. Here are a few you should not miss.

Meet your oldest ancestor

Expo 2020 may be all about the future and innovation. But if you fancy going back to explore your origin, the Ethiopian pavilion is the place to be. A 3.2-million-year-old fossil — considered the oldest trace of humanity — is on display at the pavilion. Nicknamed ‘Lucy’ by anthropologist Donald Johanson and his student Tom Gray, the fossil was discovered in 1974 among a maze of ravines at Hadar in northern Ethiopia. The skeleton, when reconstructed, composed about 40 per cent of a petite female with an ape-sized brain who stood just over one metre tall. Johanson named Lucy’s species Australopithecus afarensis, which means ‘southern ape of Afar’.

Moon Rock rocks

If you love outer space, then a visit to the US pavilion is a must. You can get up close with a Moon rock that is 3.8 billion years old. The piece was brought to the Earth by the crew of Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972, on their last mission to the Moon.

It is considered one of the largest samples brought back from the Moon. A Martian meteorite sample found during the 2012-2013 season in Antarctica will also be on display at the pavilion. At the 1970 Expo in Osaka, Japan, the US exhibited a lunar rock collected and brought to earth by the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969. At the end of the world fair, more than 18 million people had seen the Moon rock.

Quran owned by US President

A rare copy of the Holy Quran once owned by former US President Thomas Jefferson is displayed in the Unites States’ pavilion.

This is the first time the Holy book is travelling outside the United States. The two-volume set was printed in London in 1764. The book, presented as two volumes, as well as a framed map of Makkah, travelled in a custom-made wooden crate with four inches of padding and customised trays, along with a sensor that detects vibrations and temperature changes.

Jefferson’s Quran will be the first object guests can see after they emerge from a sound and light experience that showcases the US founding principles. Jefferson’s Quran is exhibited as a symbol of America’s multiculturalism and religious plurality.

Model of Space X rocket

The US pavilion is showcasing the tallest item at Expo 2020 — a one-to-one scale replica of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. At 14-storeys tall, Falcon 9 is the first orbital class rocket capable of re-flight. Falcon 9 is the most-flown operational rocket in the United States, overtaking expendable rockets that launched for decades. The towering structure is visible from a distance, and at night the structure turns into a visual spectacle of America’s achievements in space technology.

Say Hi to an Egyptian mummy

The Egypt pavilion is showcasing a royal mummy and exact replicas of the royal remains which are more than three thousand years old,

A group of modern replicas of King Tutankhamun and the coffin of priest Psamtik are also on display. The mummy is one of the 22 that were transferred in a majestic world parade from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, on April 3 this year.

- anjana@khaleejtimes.com

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