Abu Dhabi research centre to use space technology to boost food security

A new research centre in Abu Dhabi will use the UAE desert as a testing ground to explore how space technology can help food production thrive in challenging climates – on Earth and beyond. US-based firm Nanoracks, which specialises in launching small payloads such as mini and cube satellites, will establish a commercial space research centre called StarLab Oasis in the capital.

The company, which opened an office in Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 in 2019, has received funding from the Abu Dhabi Investment Office for the program. Researchers will look into ways of producing food on Mars as well as in areas, such as the Emirates, where scant rainfall is an obstacle to thriving agriculture.

“In the UAE, we really saw how space can be applied to what the issues are in the region, and one of them is food security,” Allen Herbert, vice president of business development and strategy at Nanoracks, told. “Many people don’t realise that the vertical farming industry initially started almost 30 years ago and some of that technology came from Nasa because they were trying to figure out how we could sustain people in space for long durations and on other planets.

“Now, we’re launching a company called StarLab Oasis. What we’ll be focusing on is how we can utilise space technology and do even more research to impact food security on Earth, as well as how technologies on Earth can be used in space.”

Read the complete article at www.thenationalnews.com.

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