'We need to protect the planet,' says Sultan Al Neyadi after seeing Earth from space

Emirati astronaut answers The National's questions live from the International Space Station

Powered by automated translation

UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi told The National on Wednesday that his time in space has helped him realise “how important it is to protect the planet”.

He was speaking from the International Space Station, where he arrived on March 3 for a six-month mission.

Asked if he had felt the overview effect — a powerful shift in how a person views the planet and life often experienced by astronauts — he said: “Honestly, arriving at the International Space Station and looking down at Earth and seeing this beautiful planet, you get this overall picture of it and everything that has happened throughout history.

Sultan Al Neyadi urges people to protect the planet after seeing it from space

Sultan Al Neyadi urges people to protect the planet after seeing it from space

“The people we knew and all of the events on Earth — it’s a profound experience, actually.

“And, personally, I do feel like we do need to keep this planet intact.

“Just today, I was flying over the Himalayas and I saw that boundary between air pollution, the clouds and the other side of the Himalayas.

“And I thought ‘wow, this is this is really incredible’.”

“So we need to protect this planet, we need to be happy on this planet.”

He said that as an astronaut on the space station, he “values” the oxygen and water he gets — luxuries that are taken for granted on Earth.

“Let's keep this planet intact, tidy and clean and hopefully we can live as long as possible.”

During his six-month stay in space, he will carry out more than 200 scientific experiments, including 19 from UAE universities.

He has been showing his Twitter followers some of the scientific investigations, such as research related to diabetes and testing technology in space that 3D-prints knee cartilage tissue.

On April 28, he will venture outside of the ISS for a six-and-a-half-hour assignment, in which he and a crewmate must replace communication hardware on the station's exterior.

Updated: April 12, 2023, 8:41 PM