Expo 2020 Dubai concludes digital Space Week
Expo 2020 Dubai has concluded its digital Space Week, the first of its 10 thematic weeks offering a preview of some of the diverse exhibitions, initiatives and conversations that will be brought to life at Expo 2020 Dubai in October 2021.
Coinciding with World Space Week 2020, the event probed the benefits, solutions and challenges of exploring beyond our planet’s orbit, bringing together some of the brightest stars in space travel and exploration.
Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Where else but at a World Expo could we have heard from politicians and project leaders, skydivers and software engineers, an artist and an astronomer royal, veterans of the industry, and young students with stars in their eyes?”
In the decades since the moon landing, space exploration has become an invaluable tool, offering entirely new perspectives on Spaceship Earth. What if we could bring these cosmic perspectives into our lives on Earth, challenging our purpose, value systems, sense of time, and notions of progress? While space and its study provide us with endless awe and inspiration, what lessons can we draw to combat misinformation on Earth?
Some of these complex questions were addressed in the World Majlis, Expo 2020 Dubai’s thematic dialogue programme that engages thought leaders and students on important topics, asking questions about challenges today that lead to new insights for a better tomorrow.
Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal; Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK, said: “Science is the most international profession, the one truly global culture.
“Protons and proteins are the same everywhere in the world so science can straddle every nationality and faith more easily than most professions can, so we find it easier to collaborate.
“It’s clear that more and more of the issues that the world cares about – anything to do with the environment or the climate – require collaboration.”
Omran Sharaf, Project Director, Emirates Mars Mission (Hope Probe), Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, UAE, said: “The nice thing about space is that we don’t have one identity, we are citizens of this planet. So through this [Hope Probe] mission, the UAE wants to send that message to the Arab youth and inspire them – if the UAE, a young nation is able to reach Mars in less than 50 years, then we can do much more.”
The Women in Space panel discussion celebrated the advancement of women in the space sector, reflecting on their access to opportunities and representation in leadership roles within the field.
Ersilia Vaudo, Chief Diversity Officer at the European Space Agency, said: “We don’t go to space to colonise, we don’t go to space to conquer, we don’t go to space to prevail one over another. We go to space because we are part of the same humankind, caring about our environment, caring about our future generations – this is a narrative that is much more inclusive. It’s something that brings a different approach.”
Simonetta di Pippo, Astrophysicist and Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, followed the Women in Space panel with a special message: “The role of women and girls in science is undeniable, even more in space exploration. We want to have an impact. We want to build a future. We want to preserve planet Earth – the only home we’ve ever had.”
The USA Pavilion will explore how the US government’s space programme has contributed to our understanding of space and our continued reach for the stars, as well as probe how agencies, such as NASA, will contribute to the exploration and commercialisation of space discovery and travel.
Brian C. Odom, Acting NASA Chief Historian, NASA HQ History Program Office, said: “I’m excited, and I know a lot of people at NASA are, about Expo 2020 and NASA’s participation. I think it’s a great opportunity to talk about our past. It’s a great opportunity to talk about where we are in space flight today. I think that’s what opportunities like this Expo do for us. It allows us to think about what we can accomplish collectively as a species and what might be ahead of us in exploration.”