(MENAFN- Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 20th September, 2023 (WAM) -- A local newspaper has said that space exploration, often viewed as a distant endeavour, is about people and their future, both on Earth and beyond. The recent return of Emirati spacefarer Sultan Al Neyadi after six months in space serves as a heartwarming reminder of this profound human endeavour.
In an editorial on Wednesday, The National said,“It is a future that is just starting to take shape. Dr Al Neyadi's mission was on board the International Space Station, a fine example of international scientific cooperation, but space agencies are already talking about retiring the ISS by the end of the decade, owing to its rising costs and ageing infrastructure. The focus is shifting instead to Mars and the Moon.”
Dr. Al Neyadi has said that he hopes his next voyage into space will include a visit to a planned space station that will orbit the Moon. Aged just 42, there is no reason to think that his ambition is confined to the realms of science fiction or wishful thinking.
The Nasa-led Artemis project – which aims to put humans on the Moon in long-term missions – is already in the works. The Artemis Accords, an international agreement led by the US that lays down guidelines for responsible space exploration, enjoys the support of 21 nations including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Exploring space in the 21st century has become a more diverse enterprise in which countries such as the UAE, India and China are joined by private companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin. There is also a relatively higher level of international cooperation: the two latest members of the UAE's astronaut corps – Nora Al Matrooshi and her colleague Mohammed Al Mulla – have been training at Nasa's Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas, since January last year.
Earth's near neighbour, Mars, is also entering the realm of what can conceivably be achieved by humans cooperating in space. Among the groundwork being laid for a potential crewed mission to the Red Planet is the scientific information being collected by the UAE's Hope probe, an orbiter that took up its position around the planet in February 2021 and has been beaming back crucial data ever since.
“Al Neyadi's return is the latest chapter in a remarkable Emirati story: in two generations, the country has gone from a traditional way of life to becoming a spacefaring nation. It is a story that is also just beginning,” concluded the Abu Dhabi-based daily.
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