The UAE’s Hope probe takes off on its journey to Mars on July 19. AFP Expo 2020 Dubai is to host a virtual space week from Monday. It is the first in a series of pre-Expo themed weeks that will be held and will feature expert speakers from astronauts and astronomers to other leading figures in the space sector. The two-day Expo Space Week coincides with World Space Week, which starts on Sunday and ends on October 10. The Expo School Programme will also participate with ‘The Universe in Motion’ session, among other space-related topics. Source: Expo 2020 Some of the many speakers include Reem Al Hashimy, director-general of Expo 2020 and Minister of State for International Co-operation and president of UAE Space Agency, Sarah Al Amiri. Speakers from US space agency Nasa are also on the agenda, including Nasa’s chief scientist James Green, planetary scientist Ryan Zeigler and Nasa’s chief historian Brian Odom. “Space travel and exploration has captured imaginations for generations, and on the back of the exponential rate that technological advancement is progressing, the dream of space tourism is closer to being a reality than ever,” said a statement on the event’s official website. “During this virtual week, we welcome space industry specialists from around the world as we address the Expo enquiry: how can we safely and productively explore new frontiers?” “We will hear from astronauts and astronomers, programme leaders and decision makers. We will learn more about the creative ways in which individuals, organisations and nations are showcasing unique contributions to our understanding and exploration of space.” The event will aim to tap into a growing interest in the space sector across the Emirates. The UAE has made significant strides in its efforts to cement its status as a major player in the global space race in recent years. In September of last year, Maj Hazza Al Mansouri became the first Emirati to travel in space during an eight-day journey on board the International Space Station. In July, the UAE launched the Arab world’s first mission to Mars. The Hope probe has clocked more than 200 million kilometres since it blasted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Island. The mission aims to study the atmospheric conditions of the Red Planet by capturing data using Hope’s three scientific instruments. Last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, outlined plans for the UAE to send a lunar lander to unexplored regions of the Moon by 2024. More information about the online event is available on its website .