Home > featured publications, knowledge transfer, news > UAESA-VTT White Paper: Towards a Roadmap for Future UAE Deep Space Missions and the Sustainable Settlement of Humans on Mars

UAESA-VTT White Paper: Towards a Roadmap for Future UAE Deep Space Missions and the Sustainable Settlement of Humans on Mars

December 21, 2020
Download White Paper

In 2018, the UAE Space Agency conducted an expert panel and a workshop on the prospects for the UAE Space Agency and its future space exploration plans and wanted to widen and reach out to international experts by adopting an open approach.

To do so, UAESA commissioned VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd to conduct a short foresight exercise supported by an expert workshop at the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2019) in Washington DC and a wide range of activities, including a multi-stakeholder mobilisation and mutual learning workshop in Abu Dhabi (September 2019) and several focus groups with VTT space experts in Finland (see also methodology section below).

The foresight study, on which this White Paper is based, is built on the continuous effort of the UAE to shape its space sector, through the identification of critical issues (barriers, drivers, opportunities and threats) enabling human settlement on Mars.

The study contributed to a better understanding of the critical issues lying ahead of the Mars Missions and to a more informed priority setting that allows the UAE to improve investment-related decision-making and acquire, over short-term, what is necessary to assist achieving the medium- and long-term goals.

UAE Space Foresight

The main objective of the foresight exercise was to kick-off a national and international dialogue that would support the production of this White Paper and provide an agenda for future activities aligned with the National Space Strategy 2030. Overall, the main objective of the White Paper is to serve as a stepping-stone and provide inputs for a bigger UAE Space Agency foresight exercise on the sustainable settlement of humans on Mars.

Source: Popper et al. (2020)

Opportunity Pathways (OPs)

The project led to the development of seven Opportunity Pathways (OPs), which, although specifically focused on space related developments, are relevant and can at the same time be used to address challenges that we face, or are yet to encounter, on planet Earth. With this in mind, the following opportunity pathways, as well as other outcomes of the project, will be used to further shape the UAE’s Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) roadmap, development of future missions, criteria setting to ensure programmatic self-sufficiency, and positively influence relevant policies to create an enabling environment for investments and operations in space activities.

  • OP1: Mixed reality system for training operation
  • OP2: Earth/Mars-like virtual experience
  • OP3: Smart Mars sensing
  • OP4: Construction of airtight underground structures
  • OP5: Plant cellular agriculture for food production in space
  • OP6: Gut microbiome and virtual biosphere management
  • OP7: Self-growing biosensing material

Key Technology Areas

The project also led to the identification of key technology areas that the UAE could be focusing on while leveraging existing stakeholders in relevant adjacent industries including Energy, Additive Manufacturing, Robotics and Remote Operations, and others. These are reflected in detail in the critical technology areas of the report. Six areas that stood out as worthy of further exploration and consideration by experts from both the UAE and the rest of the world (RoW) are:

  • Space Power and Energy Storage
  • In-Space Propulsion Technologies
  • Software and Applications
  • Modelling, Simulation, Information Technology and Processing
  • Thermal Management Systems
  • Assembly, Integration and Testing facilities

For a more detailed account of the findings, please click here to download the White Paper

%d bloggers like this: