Israel, UAE issue call for joint space research proposals on climate, environment

Space agencies will select a single project to fund with $200,000, which will focus on data received from the VENµS a satellite to ‘expand scientific knowledge about Earth’

Artist's rendering of the VENμS satellite, Israel's first environmental research satellite, set to launch on August 2, 2017. (Israel Space Agency)
Artist's rendering of the Venμs satellite, Israel's first environmental research satellite (Israel Space Agency)

The space agencies of Israel and the United Arab Emirates have published a call for joint space-based research proposals, inviting universities and research institutes to submit project offers in the agriculture and water fields.

The research will be based on data collected by VENµS — a satellite operated by the Israeli and French space agencies that monitors vegetation and environment characteristics.

A joint Israeli-Emirati committee will select a single project to fund with $200,000 for a two-year period, which “will leverage big data analytics, informatics and related techniques to expand humanity’s collective scientific knowledge about Earth and how we can live more sustainably,” according to a statement.

“Global collaboration is key to leveraging space to protect our planet. By partnering alongside other leading nations in the space sector, we are contributing to expanding the global base of scientific knowledge to help humanity develop solutions to its greatest challenges,” said Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and head of the UAE Space Agency.

Israel’s Science, Technology and Space Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen added that the project “shows how technology connects nations.”

“The VENµS satellite is helping find solutions to deal with climate change.‏ The joint research will help advance shared issues between the UAE and Israel, including those in the field of agri-tech, climate change and others. ”

In October Israel and the UAE finalized an agreement to collaborate on a number of space projects, including a joint launch of the “Beresheet 2” space mission to the moon, Israel’s second upcoming attempt to land an unmanned spacecraft on the lunar surface by 2024 when the countries expect to plant their flags alongside each other.

They also signed a deal to enhance cooperation in scientific research, space exploration and knowledge transfer.

The agreements were the latest step in the burgeoning relationship between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi since the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, normalizing relations between Israel and the UAE. The agreements created a buzz of excitement regarding the potential for economic cooperation, particularly in technology.

Ricky Ben-David contributed to this report.

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