The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced the shortlist of 10 Emiratis out of over 100 applicants for the UAE Analog Mission#1, as part of the Scientific International Research in Unique Terrestrial Station (SIRIUS 20/21), an eight-month analog mission conducted at the NEK ground-based analogue facility in Moscow, Russia.
The shortlist follows the MBRSC’s call for applications announced in February this year. Two finalists (one primary and one backup) will be selected from the shortlist to become part of CrewONE.
The mission will focus on studying the effects of isolation and confinement on human psychology, physiology and team dynamics to help prepare for long-duration space exploration.
This is a first of its kind opportunity for Emiratis in various scientific fields to be part of such a crucial mission that lays the foundation for future space endeavours. The UAE Analog Mission#1 will play a key role in developing Emirati capabilities and contribute to the development of the Mars 2117 Programme, which aims to establish human colonies in Mars by 2117.
During the call for applications, MBRSC announced that it was looking for Emirati candidates between the ages of 25 and 55, who were passionate about space and can communicate in English. Preferred occupations included physicians, medical investigators, physiologists, biologists, life-support specialists, and IT and electronics professionals.
On 14 April 2020, MBRSC revealed that the shortlisted candidates include five women, with the youngest candidate being a 25-year-old woman. The oldest shortlisted applicant is a 40-year-old male. All the candidates come from varied career backgrounds including engineering, medicine and science. While all ten candidates possessed the requirements in the eligibility criteria, they were shortlisted for their soft skill capabilities including their ability to stay calm under pressure, independent nature, analytical skills and more.
Commenting on the announcement, Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General, MBRSC, said, “Guided by the futuristic vision of our leadership, the UAE has progressed exponentially in space research and exploration; and through international collaborations such as the SIRIUS 20/21 mission, we continue to develop our local capabilities and move closer towards building a knowledge-based economy. The UAE Analog Mission#1 is unique because it allows us to work with a global pool of experts across a variety of sectors including health, science, technology and more. Such experiences will ultimately help fortify the UAE’s pioneering space program in the region for years to come.”
Adnan Al Rais, Mars 2117 Programme Manager at MBRSC, added, “We are happy with the overall quality of the candidates who have been shortlisted for the UAE Analog Mission#1. All of them are of a high calibre, well-knowledgeable when it comes to the analog mission and capable of enduring challenges associated with it. We look forward to selecting the final crew members from this pool of talented candidates. Their varied experience and expertise, along with those of the other crew members selected for the mission, will contribute to the realisation of the Mars 2117 Programme and enable us to undertake more ambitious space exploration challenges.”
The UAE Analog Mission is a Mars 2117 initiative and is funded by the ICT fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.