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The #SpaceWatchME #WEF Interviews: Salem Al Marri of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center

Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director-General, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center

In the latest SpaceWatch Middle East interview series, Torsten Kriening speaks to Salem Al Marri of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, Dubai. They discuss the work of the World Economic Forum’s, ‘Future of Space Technologies’ Council.

On 13-14 November 2016 the Annual Meeting for the Global Future Councils took place in Dubai, UAE. Once a year, members of this World Economic Forum Network convene to envision and discuss future global trends, identify key factors influencing them, analyse risks and challenges. They are aimed at challenging the conventional and promoting innovative thinking on the future.

The findings are presented at the Annual Meeting in Davos as well as other key events that have an impact on the governance and global decision-making process, and shape the future of international affairs.

SpaceWatch Middle East questions for Salem Al Marri:

What motivates you about space?

I am motivated by the discovery potential in space, the unknown and the difficulty in achieving goals in space, but also by the huge potential and results that can be had with success in space.

What are your top 3 space visions for 2030?

        • Humans land on mars
        • Initial steps for a sustained human presence on the moon
        • Easy access to space, in terms of launch and human transport systems.
        • 3D printing

What are the 3 main concerns / risks for space in 2030?

        • Cyber attacks in space
        • Weapons in space
        • Space debris and its effect on new satellites in LEO.
MBRSC facility Dubai; Credits: SpaceWatch Middle East

How do you see the 4th Industrial Revolution having an impact on space?

I think that it will impact long-term human space flight through new technologies that help sustain life, help mitigate the effects on the human body, produce food and automate most  processes. All of the following will have a huge impact on space: artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

Do we need more agile regulations to act with new technologies and legal challenges – such as space weapons, cyber, space resources (code of conduct)?

I think we do. We currently we have UNOOSA, that is bringing together all nations for discussions and agreements on certain topics. However, we need to have a body which has the power and can act much quicker to set regulations and possibly act to implement or sustain the regulation.

How can informed press help to conduct your messages? What kind of press support is needed for a peaceful use of (outer) space?

There needs to be a constant two way dialogue and I believe that press focus on the following would be helpful:

          • Benefits of space technology to human kind
          • The inspirational aspects of space for the younger generation
          • The spin off benefits

If this message is delivered continuously the space field will be more resilient in my opinion.

SpaceWatch Middle East thanks Salem Al Marri of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, Dubai, for the interview.

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