Omran Sharaf, Emirates Mars Mission Director: The goal of space missions is to serve humanity - British Herald
November 27, 2021
Middle East

Omran Sharaf, Emirates Mars Mission Director: The goal of space missions is to serve humanity

DUBAI, 18 October 2021 – The Senior Director and Project Manager of Emirates Mars Mission, Omran Sharaf, is also the Director of the Programmes Management Department at the UAE Space Agency’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. Expo News Service caught up with him during Expo 2020’s Space Week.

Working with Emirates Mars Mission, how did you feel seeing the Hope Probe arrive at Mars earlier this year?

“It was an important moment, not only in my career but in the history of the UAE and the region. At that moment, I felt proud, tired, exhausted, happy and afraid, as we were testing a system that would enter the orbit of another planet, and that had to be done with the utmost precision. One small error could affect everything.”

What effect has the mission had on the UAE?

“The goal wasn’t just to get to Mars, it was one of many. We wanted to change the culture of youth in the UAE and the Arab world, and to build an advanced science and technology sector here. We want to build a system that supports the space sector, and build important capabilities for the UAE economy.”

Do you think we might live on Mars one day?

“I expect humans to reach other planets, but I don’t expect these planets to be a substitute for Earth. The goal of sending missions to space is to serve humanity, and the discoveries made in space will be used to serve humans and increase the quality of life on Earth.”

Have you always wanted to work in the space sector?

“I dreamt of working in the space sector since childhood, but I didn’t expect it to become possible in the UAE so quickly. I thought it would happen, but that my children and grandchildren would be the ones who would be able to enter this field, not me.”

What do you think the legacy of the Mars Mission will be for the UAE?

“After the success of the Hope Probe, many ambitious young people are wanting to specialise in the space sector. At the same time, universities have started adding scientific programmes to support this trend. Also thanks to the Hope Probe, the UAE Space Agency was established, along with the Emirates Scientists Council, the Ministry of Advanced Sciences, the Ministry of Advanced Technology and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.”

What do you think Expo 2020 can achieve for humanity?

“Expo 2020 Dubai represents the UAE community, and how we operate in the UAE. Our World Expo is one of the most important global events. It will leave a valuable imprint on the UAE, where 200-plus nationalities live – and all of them are coming together to enhance the UAE’s global position.”

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