Space Experts Convene at NYU Abu Dhabi to Discuss the Future of Space

Space Experts Discuss the Future of Space

Study of the sun will be key to forecasting space weather and enabling travel to Mars

Press Release

The Center for Space Science at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) convened a meeting of senior members of the UAE space sector and international scientists recently on Future Directions in Heliophysics. Heliophysics is the science of how sun’s interior influences the atmosphere of the sun and its planets. 

Speakers presented important scientific challenges in understanding the behaviour of the sun, which in turn limits the ability to predict its impact on our space environment. Discussions of potential space missions focused on CubeSats, which provide an affordable and powerful means of studying the full surface of the sun and characterizing its impact on us from space.

The participants also discussed the advantages of a collaboration between Center for Space Science and the UAE on building space programs. Director of Space Missions, Science and Technology Khaled al Hashemi and Head of Space Projects Abdulla Al Marar presented the UAE Space Agency’s vision for the future, including the status of the 2020 mission to Mars. Director of the Space Science Department Miriam Rashid Al Shamsi described the activities of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai.

Conference participants discussed questions about the sun; the most important influence on the Earth’s weather and space environment. Also present were guests from Khalifa University, American University of Sharjah, and UAE University.

The Center for Space Science, headed by Principal Investigator Professor Katepalli Sreenivasan and co-Principal Investigators Professor Laurent Gizon and Professor Shravan Hanasoge, aims to set world-class research and outreach programs in the science of the sun, stars, and exoplanets. In addition to being a hub of intellectual activity within NYUAD, the Center for Space Science intends to be a significant resource in supporting one of the UAE's priority sectors in the science of space.

Sizing up a Distant Star With Astonishing Precision
 

The study of the sun and its impact on planets is an exciting new field of research in the UAE, and understanding the physical causes of the magnetism of the sun will be key to forecasting space weather and ultimately enabling space travel to Mars.

Laurent Gizon, NYUAD Center for Space Science

Research Professor Laurent Gizon said, "NYU Abu Dhabi's collaborative research environment is aimed at fostering intellectual discourse across disciplines while addressing issues of local impact and global consequence. The study of the sun and its impact on planets is an exciting new field of research in the UAE, and understanding the physical causes of the magnetism of the sun will be key to forecasting space weather and ultimately enabling space travel to Mars."

Michael McGrath, a participant from UAE University in Al Ain, added: “NYU Abu Dhabi convened a meeting of prominent international solar scientists to discuss key unanswered questions about the sun – one star amongst billions of stars in our universe, and arguably the most important influence on the Earth’s weather and environment – affecting all of life today. That we don’t understand some of the most fundamental behaviors of this star creates a majestic scientific challenge.”

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About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from 120 nations and speak over 120 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.