The UAE’s participation in the new lunar economy will help to create jobs and bring skilled workers to the country, an Emirati space official has said.
An economy focused on the Moon has grown over the past few years, as governments and private companies look to use and exchange lunar resources.
It is estimated that the value of the lunar market could pass $170 billion by 2040, with groups taking people and resources between the Moon and Earth, and using lunar data on our planet.
There are also hopes that people can one day travel from the Moon to Mars.
The UAE is one of many countries that plans to carry out a mission to the Moon to collect scientific data.
The country's first lunar rover, Rashid, is scheduled to launch this year on board a Japanese lander built by a private company. There are also plans for a second rover, known as Rashid 2.
Adnan Al Rais, director of the remote sensing department at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, told The National at the World Government Summit in Dubai that there was an “international plan to invest a lot on the Moon”.
“The Moon will become a gateway that will take us to Mars, so that's international movement. There are over 16 space agencies sit that are executing that plan,” he said.
“Investing in the Emirates Lunar Mission will open the door to the establishment of that space ecosystem.
“We have local companies that are getting involved and more who want to be part of missions going forward.
"So, that’s creating jobs, helping develop technologies locally and will help bring skills to the country. This becomes an important element in any economy.”
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The space centre has focused on developing the talents of Emirati engineers and scientists over the past decade.
Now the country is trying to establish a private space sector comprising companies that will build space systems and new technology, eventually securing government contracts to carry payloads to space.
US space agency Nasa is leading this sector, with government satellites, cargo and astronauts that now travel to space on rockets built by privately owned companies.
The UAE Space Agency, which oversees the laws and regulations of space activities, is setting up several space economic zones around the country for start-ups and other organisations to set up in the UAE.