Why the UAE Space Agency Says Its Mars Mission Is the Secret to Solving Earth's Biggest Problems
NASA hogs the spotlight whenever we talk about the future of space exploration, but with its bold, exciting plans for Mars, scientists in the United Arab Emirates have made it clear their space program deserves to be taken every bit as seriously.
With the UAE's recent announcement of its new giant science city--which is designed to simulate a Martian colony—and its plans for a colony on the Red Planet by 2117, the small but incredibly prosperous country of 9.27 million people sitting on the Persian Gulf has inarguably become a hotbed for high-risk, high-reward space innovation.
Speaking recently at the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, leaders of the UAE and various other space companies united to discuss what's next, and the consensus is that space tech will have a massive impact here on Earth as well as in the cosmos.
But what's the most important concept that Earthlings can adapt from space missions? Scientists say it's managing our resources on our home planet.
"There are some key interdisciplinary aspects of space we need to develop which includes a focus on renewable energy, solar panels, agriculture and psychology," said Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, chairman of UAE Space Agency.
"Sustainability is critical and we have developed successful projects here, for example 100 percent of water is recycled at Masdar...UAE's Mars Scientific City replicates conditions of Mars and will solve issues around water, energy and food and help with our human capacity development."
Dr. Al Falasi also pointed out that the UAE has already made strong advances in communications and remote sensing, which have applications both in space and on Earth.
Most telling of all, citizens of the UAE are getting excited about science education.
"We are seeing people become more and more engaged in STEM education," added Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi. "We had three generations of the same family apply to the astronaut program—a grandfather, father and son which shows the tremendous excitement and inspiration the space sector is having."
The potential discoveries that could benefit humanity from some of the greatest minds in the world coming together are almost beyond comprehension.
If you're still unclear about how spending billions of dollars on space programs will help deal with problems here on the ground, consider this: memory foam, invisible braces, firefighting equipment, artificial limbs, water filters, cochlear implants, satellite television, and long-distance telecommunications were developed by NASA over the course of the last 60 years.