Dubai is to build an AED20 million first-of-its-kind scientific entertainment and tourism centre at Mushrif Park, as the emirate aims to become the Middle East's space pioneer.
A project of Dubai Municipality, the Thuraya Astronomical Centre will be a centre for observing various astronomical phenomena, news agency WAM reported.
The project is designed as an educational reference for students, as well as an astronomical observatory for the public and amateur astronomers, it added.
The project will consist of a main building with two floors containing a set of multi-purpose halls, open galleries and cafeteria.
The observatory, built on a land area of 29,600 square feet, also houses a telescope covered by a revolving dome, an astronomy and space gallery, which includes photos, paintings and models of the planets, the solar system and the stars, and an exhibition of scientific games.
The project comes as the UAE embarks on ambitious plans to explore outer space through the creation of the UAE Space Agency.
Last month, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the final designs of the UAE's Mars Hope probe which is scheduled to reach the Red Planet in 2021.
The Hope probe is schedule to leave Earth in 2020 and aims to produce entirely new types of data that will enable scientists to build the first truly holistic models of the Martian atmosphere.
The probe will be the first to study changes in the Martian atmosphere throughout its daily and seasonal cycles.
Hope will be a compact spacecraft the size and weight of a small car. It will blast off in a launcher rocket, then detach and accelerate into deep space.
It will reach a speed of 126,000 kilometres per hour for the 600 million km journey around the sun to Mars, which will take around 200 days.
The probe will orbit the Red Planet until at least 2023, with an option to extend the mission until 2025. It will send back more than 1000 GB of data to be analysed by teams of researchers in the UAE, and shared freely with more than 200 institutions worldwide for the benefit of thousands of space specialists.
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