The purpose of making space a big feature of the airshow was to attract international experts to participate, says Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director general of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.

Making the industry such a big features of this week’s biennial Dubai Airshow was meant to be “an opportunity to meet with major international aerospace companies and institutions, and build strategic relations”, he says.

Even the UAE’s rulers have described what they are trying to do as “an epic challenger”. Assuming everything progresses as planned, the final step will be a manned landing on Mars – within the next 100 years, that is.

It may never happen. But at least the country will have created a new generation of scientists in the Gulf – and learned how to grow a lot more fruit and veg in the desert.

Source: myjoyonline