Mars and beyond is the way for UAE

It is an investment in the future, which will have dividends for generations to come.

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Published: Wed 15 Jun 2016, 4:19 PM

The UAE eyes Mars as its next frontier, but certainly not its last destination. The Emirates may have a long way to go but it is brimming with plans to extend its outreach in the space. At a time when the Middle East is embroiled in turmoil and economic uncertainty, the UAE has a long-term vision to be a pioneer in space exploration in the Arab region. Its ambitious mission to send a probe into Mars by 2021 proves that the nation's socio-economic indicators are good enough. His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Charles Bolden, the Nasa Administrator, on Monday reiterated their pledge to explore the outer space for the collective betterment of mankind. The UAE will soon have the Middle East's first Space Research Centre, which has been set up with a seed fund of Dh100 million. This space mission will not only put the UAE on the map of countries exploring the universe, but also add new values to its economy, technical expertise and talent. It is an investment in the future, which will have dividends for generations to come.
The UAE stands out as the lone leader in research and development in the region, which in itself is a fitting tribute to the country's leadership. Adding to a string of space cooperation accords it has signed with South Korea, China, Russia and the UK, the UAE this week signed an agreement with Nasa for cooperation in space exploration and aeronautics research. Khalifa Al Romaithi, chair of the UAE Space Agency, said the agreement opens the door to the creation of a wide range of mutually beneficial programmes for the UAE and the USA. Bolden, on his visit to Abu Dhabi, said the world is on the cusp of a new era in space and aeronautics that will revolutionise travel by creating cleaner and faster planes. The Nasa administrator, who spent more than 680 hours in space, said he was impressed with the work of the UAE Space Agency. A number of UAE institutions are already working in collaboration with Nasa, sharing scientific data and research facilities. Going by the speed the nation's space programme has acquired in such a short time, the UAE is all set to scale new orbits in space research.

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