How a Dubai schoolboy became a global rocket scientist


Dubai: The recent return of Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi from the longest Arab space mission has inspired a former Dubai resident to contribute to the UAE space sector in a specialized field.

Dr. Farhan M. Asrar, now based in Canada, is a doctor and academic who aspires to be part of a pioneering space medicine and health department in the United Arab Emirates.

Currently, he is co-chair of the Department of Human Performance in Space (Space Medicine and Life Sciences) of the renowned Space Studies Program of the International Space University. This is an internationally recognized program that several countries are bidding to host and this year, the 35th annual program is taking place in Brazil.

Dr. Asrar delivers the basic lecture on space medicine to participants of the Space Studies Program (SSP) of the International Space University.
Image credit: supplied

Dr. Asrar, along with his team, also presented the results of his studies at a United Nations committee meeting and participated in a UN workshop on space technology for socio-economic benefits.

United Arab Emirates Connection

The scientist told Gulf News in an online interview that he wants to give something back to the country where he was born and raised – the United Arab Emirates.

“I was born in Dubai and grew up in Dubai and Sharjah. I completed high school in the UAE and then during my medical studies, I also took some medical electives in hospitals in the UAE,” she said. Her parents lived in the United Arab Emirates for almost 30 years.

Dr. Asrar said his interest in space medicine arose during his medical specialization when he discovered the potential of incorporating his passion for space into his career.

Dr. Farhan Asrar and Guest Speakers SSP23-1696159646597

Dr. Asrar (right), Co-Chairman of the Department of Human Performance in Space/HPS (Space Medicine and Space Life Sciences) of the renowned Space Studies Program (SSP) of the International Space University with visiting professor Ms. Safa Siddiqui , nuclear engineer at Bruce Power, Canada; Dr. Judith Hayes, chief science officer of NASA’s Human Health and Performance Directorate and co-chair of the SSP HPS Department; Professor Dr. Jonathan Clark, renowned space medicine expert and former NASA crew and spaceflight surgeon; and Professor John Connolly (left), an expert on NASA lunar missions and lunar landers in NASA’s Human Landing System Program.
Image credit: supplied

Scope of space medicine

As the UAE aims to explore deep space, there is now more scope to expand expertise in space technology, including space medicine, he noted.

“Space technology offers numerous potential benefits in various areas, including environmental health, air pollution control, and infectious disease outbreaks.”

He told how his paper on the role of space in pandemics was published in Nature Medicine, one of the world’s leading medical journals, after the content “surprised the editors”. He said the anecdote highlighted a “knowledge gap” in the field and the need for greater awareness and education about the health-related benefits of space technology.

He noted that many innovations on Earth, such as GPS technology and remote medicine, have their origins in the space sector.

“In addition, space plays a vital role in monitoring, mitigating and preventing infectious disease outbreaks, which aligns with the UAE’s humanitarian assistance efforts. Monitoring climate change and environmental pollutants can guide medical recommendations,” he said.

By training future leaders in space medicine and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), Dr Asrar believes that the UAE can become a global player in advancing research and development in this field.

“Through education, collaboration and innovation, the UAE can be a leader in space medicine and contribute to global advances in healthcare and public health.”

To achieve his vision, Dr. Asrar plans to collaborate with local space agencies, universities and space experts in the UAE and beyond. With experience collaborating with astronauts and experts from organizations such as the United Nations, NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, Dr. Asrar said he has also worked with researchers, professors and professionals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Saudi and the United States. CCG.


When asked about his affinity for the UAE, Dr Asrar described it as a “homecoming”.

“The United Arab Emirates has always been like home to me. Every time I come I feel like I never left. It is a beautiful cosmopolitan country. We’ve had family friends that I grew up with that are still there. One thing I’ve admired about space is that it brings the world together, regardless of background, cast, profession or field, and our differences and what we all bring to the table make us stronger. That is the same thing I feel about Dubai and the UAE, they bring together so many different cultures, experiences and fields and that is what makes the UAE special and gives it its strength.”

Congratulating the UAE for having taken significant steps in the space world in a short period of time, he said: “With its satellites, Moon-focused initiatives, the upcoming asteroid program and also the successful astronaut programme, the UAE has achieved much in the future. the wise leadership of the country.”


UAE News Today :

UAE News Today : Latest UAE News, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah & Middle East News : Get the latest updates & breaking headlines news from across the UAE including Dubai and Abu Dhabi UAE. Get the latest update on UAE, business, life style, UAE jobs, gold rate, Exchange rate, UAE holidays, Dubai police, RTA and prayer times from UAE's largest news.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button