UAE: Abu Dhabi Space Debate is a platform for space sectors worldwide, Al Amiri says

The importance of the ADSD is that it is the only global forum in which regulators, governments, agencies, private sectors and academics unite constructively



Photo: @ADSpaceDebate/Twitter
Photo: @ADSpaceDebate/Twitter
by

Lamya Tawfik

Published: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 1:49 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 9:11 PM

The first Abu Dhabi Space Debate kicked off on Monday with attendees from space sectors around the world.

In her opening remarks, Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and the Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency said that the event was “an enormous opportunity to examine, define and seek potential resolutions for some of the challenges facing the sector”.

She added that the impact of these challenges could be “felt way beyond the space sector, and have the potential to touch people’s everyday lives all around the world".

The importance of the Abu Dhabi Space Debate (ADSD) is that it is the only global forum in which regulators, governments, agencies, private sectors and academics can come together and take a holistic view of the development of this vital sector.

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“This is where we believe the ADSD has a key and valuable contribution to make, in order to further define the development of our sector,” she said.

Speaking to the attendees, Al Amiri pointed out that she believed these challenges were potentially existential to the peaceful and collaborative exploration of the limitless potential of space.

“[However] I also believe the impact to be beyond that — to truly define the limitless potential of humanity,” she said.

She stressed that while we are taking steps to understand the atmospheric dynamics of Mars’ weather systems, much is still needed to truly understand the weather dynamics of the Earth.

“How like us as a species to assume that we understand the familiar only to realise that familiarity doesn’t support understanding! We are only now realising the potential and fundamental impact of climate change, but I personally don’t believe that we truly understand them,” she said, adding that understanding requires information and hard data.

To do that, it is important to combine data sources and to better integrate observations, and to collaborate, she stressed.

“Earth observation technologies are going to be totally critical to the efforts moving forward. Just as they are undoubtedly set to play a critical role in mitigating the negative impact of climate change moving forward,” she said, emphasising that climate change is only one element.

“Global navigation systems, communication networks and security and defence technologies. There are new actors and there are new challenges."

"We have moved from the bipolar world of the cold war and its space race to [a] multilateral world, where some 70 nations are considered space-capable,” she declared.

Al Amiri spoke about the challenge of space debris, a problem that she says has been long ignored.

“The challenge of space debris is one that we have been kicking down the road, but every kick of the can is now a trillion dollars in additional remediation cost. It’s now time to act. It’s already too late to act but that’s not an excuse for inaction,” she said.


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