The five Emirati men and women selected will undergo various tests before the final interview in May.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has shortlisted 10 Emiratis out of over 100 applicants for the UAE Analog Mission#1 as part of the Scientific International Research In Unique Terrestrial Station (SIRIUS) SIRIUS 20/21, an 8-month analog mission conducted at the NEK ground-based analogue facility in Moscow, Russia.
MBRSC revealed that the shortlisted candidates include five women, with the youngest candidate being a 25-year-old woman. The oldest shortlisted applicant is a 40-year-old male. All the candidates come from varied career backgrounds including engineering, medicine and science. While all ten candidates possessed the requirements in the eligibility criteria, they were shortlisted for their soft skill capabilities including their ability to stay calm under pressure, independent nature, analytical skills and more.
The shortlist follows the MBRSCs call for applications announced in February this year. Two finalists (one primary and one backup) will be selected from the shortlist to become part of CrewONE. The mission will focus on studying the effects of isolation and confinement on human psychology, physiology and team dynamics to help prepare for long-duration space exploration.
All ten qualified candidates will now undergo a medical exam to ascertain their fitness levels and ensure they do not have any chronic illness. A remote psychometric test will follow the medicals. The candidates will be evaluated and tested on their commitment, teamwork, ability to stay calm under pressure and effective time management, among other vital skills.
Following these tests, a final interview will be conducted by the senior leadership team at MBRSC in the first week of May, after which one primary member and one backup member of CrewONE will be selected.
The UAE Analog Mission#1 will play a key role in developing Emirati capabilities and contribute to the development of the Mars 2117 Programme, which aims to establish human colonies in Mars by 2117.
During the call for applications, MBRSC announced that it was looking for Emirati candidates between the ages of 25 and 55, who were passionate about space and can communicate in English. Preferred occupations included physicians, medical investigators, physiologists, biologists, life-support specialists, and IT and electronics professionals.
Commenting on the shortlist, Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director General, MBRSC, said: The UAE has progressed exponentially in space research and exploration; and through international collaborations such as the SIRIUS 20/21 mission, we continue to develop our local capabilities and move closer towards building a knowledge-based economy. The UAE Analog Mission#1 is unique because it allows us to work with a global pool of experts across a variety of sectors including health, science, technology and more. Such experiences will ultimately help fortify the UAEs pioneering space program in the region for years to come.”
Adnan AlRais, Mars 2117 Programme Manager at MBRSC, remarked: We are happy with the overall quality of the candidates who have been shortlisted for the UAE Analog Mission#1. All of them are of a high calibre, well-knowledgeable when it comes to the analog mission and capable of enduring challenges associated with it. We look forward to selecting the final crew members from this pool of talented candidates. Their varied experience and expertise, along with those of the other crew members selected for the mission, will contribute to the realisation of the Mars 2117 Programme and enable us to undertake more ambitious space exploration challenges.
The UAE Analog Mission is a Mars 2117 initiative and is funded by the ICT fund of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.