Five things to do at Expo's Space Week, from meeting astronauts to touching a Moon rock

The greatest show on earth will celebrate life in space during a packed week of activities

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Space Week at Expo 2020 Dubai is promising a stellar experience, from meet-and-greets with astronauts to a chance to look through powerful telescopes providing a peek into the cosmos.

From Sunday, October 17 to Saturday, October 23, astronauts from Nasa, the UAE, Italy and Japan will meet visitors and field questions about life in space.

It is the perfect event for space enthusiasts, especially young people who are considering careers in the Stem subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Scientists, engineers and space leaders will also participate in several conferences during the week.

On October 17, the first gathering by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre will be held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre South Hall 2A, from 10.15am to 5.15pm. To attend, visitors must register online.

Titled ‘The People’s Mission: Citizens in Space Exploration’, the conference will feature Emirati, Swedish and Russian astronauts.

On October 19, Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, will address the Space Business Forum.

Ms Al Amiri will also speak on October 20 at the Space: Where the World Comes Together for Progress conference.

The forums will also be live-streamed online.

The National highlights some of the out-of-this-world activities visitors can expect during the week.

Meet astronauts and ask questions

On October 17, the UAE’s first astronaut Maj Hazza Al Mansouri and his colleague, the Arab world's first female astronaut, Nora Al Matrooshi, will meet the public.

They will speak from 2pm to 3.15pm at the Dubai Exhibition Centre – near the metro station at the Expo site – at a conference that is open to the public once they register online.

Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang and Russian cosmonaut and rocket scientist Sergei Krikalev will also be interacting with the public.

Emirati astronauts Dr Sultan Al Neyadi and Mohammed Al Mulla are also attending the conference.

Throughout the week, many other astronauts will be attending different forums, including Soichi Noguchi, from Japan, who flew on SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, who survived a water leak in his helmet during a spacewalk in 2013, will be at the Italian pavilion on October 19, from 4pm to 6pm.

Peek into deep space using telescopes

Visitors can observe galaxies and nebulae in the deep-sky using a powerful telescope available in the France pavilion.

The telescope has been provided by Unistellar and offers vivid colours and details.

It will be on show from October 20 to October 23.

Learn about UAE’s Mars mission

The UAE made history this year when its Hope probe arrived on Mars. The spacecraft has sent back a wealth of data, with 110 gigabytes of it already released online for free.

Omran Sharaf, the mission director, will be speaking to the public on October 17, sometime between 12.15pm to 1.30pm at the Dubai Exhibition Centre.

The Mars satellite reached orbit on February 9 to study the planet’s atmosphere.

Touch a rock from the Moon

At the US pavilion, a rock brought from the Moon will be on display.

Visitors can not only look, but also touch the space object and take photos of it.

US pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai receives a visit from a space traveller

US pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai receives a visit from a space traveller

The mare basalt is estimated to be about 3.75 billion years old and is older than nearly all Earth surface rocks.

It was collected during one of the Apollo missions.

A Martian meteorite sample found during the 2012-2013 season in Antarctica is also on display.

Hear from UAE space chief Sarah Al Amiri

Minister Al Amiri will give opening remarks for the Space Business Forum, taking place on October 19 at the Dubai Exhibition Centre.

The forum will bring together leaders in the private and public space sector to discuss economic potential from exploring space resources, such as Moon mining.

For those interested in learning about careers in the space sector and developing space technology, this forum is recommended.

Updated: October 16, 2021, 3:00 AM