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UAE building satellites to help us learn about our planet

Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al-Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency. Photograph courtesy of

It has been announced that the UAE Space Agency is building three satellites that will help to address climate change and other scientific challenges. The news broke during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, where the focus of the event is to further our understanding of the major social, economic and technology trends shaping the world today.  It is hoped that the satellites will enable better understanding about the Earth.

Space is set to play an important role in enabling sustainability both on Earth and in the space environment. The UAE Space Agency played a key role during Sustainability Week as it highlighted the ways in which space can be utilised for good across different industries.
Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director-general of the UAE Space Agency, told Khaleej Times: “Here in the UAE, we don’t have natural water, so we are using technology to get what we need. The same thing goes for food – we import almost everything. The environment here is very difficult – very hot and humid. Energy has its own challenges. These are problems similar to the challenges in Mars. Through space exploration, and when we team up with international organisations, we will come up with solutions that can help us face the challenges here on Earth.”
The UAE’s Hope probe is expected to be launched in 2020, and this will orbit Mars, gathering information about the planet and its atmosphere. This information will also be shared with the wider scientific community.
“People don’t appreciate the atmosphere of Earth, and this is why you hear about global warming. We try to learn what happened to Mars so we can take care of our blue marble,” Dr. Al Ahbabi continued. “This is the big science message or contribution to the international community – how to take care of our planet. Otherwise, you have to live inside; no more beaches,” Dr. Al Ahbabi said.
The Hope mission is currently on schedule for its 2020 launch

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