Dr Al Ahbabi of the UAE Space Agency on the 100-year mission to Mars

Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, the Director General of the UAE Space Agency on the country's leadership role in space and the 100-year Mars 2117 mission.
On day two of the Global Aerospace Summit 2018, taking place from 30 April to 2 May 2018 in Abu Dhabi at the St. Regis hotel on Saadiyat Island, Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, the Director General of the UAE Space Agency made a presentation on “Arab Space Leaders: Space and the Arab World”.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the summit, Dr Al Ahbabi said: “The UAE  is leading the region in terms of aerospace and also space.Today, the UAE has the largest space sector in the region in terms of number of satellites. We operate and own seven satellites. We have the first space agency in our region. We have the first Arab and Islamic planetary mission to Mars. The UAE has become the hub for space services, space events, space education, and space capability.”

About inspiring the next generation, he said: “The UAE government has identified space as part of our current and future strategy. In fact we see space as a bridge to the future. Through space, we educate and inspire and train our next generation of engineers. It does not matter where they go. We inspire them through space and they can go to oil and gas, airlines, aerospace, renewable sector and so on. We are using space to elevate their expectations and position our country as a contributor to the world at large.”

On the historical mission to Mars, he elaborated: “We probably have the longest project in this regard. We have a 100-year project and we call it Mars 2117. The aim is that by that time UAE will contribute towards putting the first settlement on Mars. So that is the vision. We are using this project to educate, to network, to bring technology to the country. Because this country faces challenges similar to Mars. We face issues related to food security, water security, energy and environmental challenges. We are using this mission to find solutions to current problems that we face here.”