Expo 2020 Dubai has kicked off its themed “Space Week” which aims to give visitors an intergalactic experience, whilst discussing lingering challenges about humanity’s race to the final frontier.
Space Week will celebrate nations’ successful space exploration missions, welcoming celebrated astronauts and space exploration experts.
As part of the celebrations, the Al Wasl dome, the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface, is to host “Cosmos”; an audio-visual show depicting a journey through the stars.
On Sunday, Italy’s Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale dei Conservatori Italiani is also set to perform film soundtracks by composers Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota, set to projections of satellite images taken from space at the Dubai Millennium amphitheater.
Chilean pop artist Flangr is to visit Expo for special-themed shows during the week, presenting the music he has developed from unusual space sounds coded from the Orion Nebula by the Observatory ALMA.
The France Pavilion in the Mobility Zone is also hosting “Stargazing Nights” where daily 90-minute shows will take visitors into a deep-space exploration of galaxies and nebulae, with colors and detail courtesy of Unistellar’s ground-breaking telescope.
Expo 2020 Dubai visitors can also experience the “Space Walk,” a journey through the success stories of how nations conquered space, including the UAE’s Mission to Mars and the achievements in the field by countries such as Canada, France, India and New Zealand.
The Space Walk journey not only celebrates the feats of nations in exploring outer space, but also tells the story of how these missions have contributed to improving life on Earth, in the face of numerous challenges, including climate change and environmental degradation.
Visitors will also have a rare opportunity to see the “mission control” of the UAE’s ambitious space program and look at the achievements of the Hope Mission to Mars in Alif – The Mobility Pavilion.
An immersive exhibit at the India Pavilion will also showcase the Indian space program and its applications in health, defense and natural resource management.
From AI to machine learning, to space and aerospace, the Canada Pavilion will provide visitors glimpses into its past, present and future programs, while the Switzerland Pavilion is showcasing pioneering efforts in sustainable space logistics and solutions to tackle the increasingly prominent issue of space debris, as well as the role of the private sector in sustainable space exploration.
Kicking off Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Week on Sunday, the head of the UAE Emirates Hope Mission to Mars stressed the importance of training more Emirati scientists and developing an advanced science and technology sector to address national challenges in the post-oil economic period.
“Why is it important to have an advanced science and technology sector? Because it’s critical for the future of our economy, because it’s critical for the future of our nation,” Omran Sharaf, project director of the Emirates Hope Mission to Mars, said.
Sharaf was among the experts taking part in The Peoples Mission: Citizens in Space Exploration – a public-facing event that launched Space Week and was organized in association with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space center (MBRSC), UAE Space Agency, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), and the USA and Mozambique Pavilions.
“To be able to have a competitive knowledge-based, post-oil economy, we need to have an advanced science and technology sector to address our national challenges,” Sharaf said.
“It’s about survival. This is why it’s critical. This is why we need to have Emirati scientists, to help build solutions for us, and ultimately deliver systems that will work in space,” he continued.
“Mars is a harsh environment, and we can develop the skills and design needed here, which can also be used for our survival as a nation, and that are critical for the sustainable development of the UAE, the region and the world.”
Referring to the UAE’s Hope probe, now orbiting Mars and gathering vital data about the planet, he said: “A young nation like the UAE, with more than 200 nationalities, has been able to reach Mars in less than 50 years.”
“Over that time, we have built this nation together. So, the message here is, let’s put our differences aside and let’s work with the rest of the world. Let’s be integrated into the global system, and make scientists and engineers part of the journey.”
Emirati astronaut Hazza al-Mansouri, the first person from the UAE to head into space, also spoke about his experience into outer space.
“The feeling of launching into space is indescribable,” he said. “When you look at Earth from space, watching it spin in front of you, there are no borders between countries – it’s a reminder that as human beings, we must work with each other to preserve this planet for future generations.”
“There are no limits to the ambition of the UAE, especially in the field of space, from rehabilitating astronauts to launching satellites and reaching Mars, with more ambitious plans to come. And it will all lead to progress here on Earth, with research, and in terms of developing equipment and other matters related to this sector. These developments will help us to overcome the challenges facing us on our planet, such as water scarcity.”