23 July 2019
The Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology (SAASST) at the University of Sharjah organized a celebration of the 50th Moon Landing Anniversary of Apollo 11 in collaboration with Popular Science Arabia. The Academy welcomed a large number of attendees ranging from students, researchers, faculty members, to space and astronomy enthusiasts in an event lucrative in knowledge and excitement that features the history, concept, and significance of space exploration as well as the Apollo Program. The celebration started with stressing the importance of this event in highlighting the accomplishment of mankind in landing on the surface of the Moon including all aspects of rocket and crew planning, technical challenges, as well as the scientific value of this project. The Academy organized this event with the aim of serving the scientific community, and disseminating knowledge and understanding in the field of astronomy and space sciences to students, researchers, and enthusiasts alike.
Dr. Ilias Fernini, SAASST's Deputy General Director of the Research Laboratories and Sharjah Observatory, stated that the Academy aims to: spread knowledge of the importance of the space sector and astronomical scientific awareness; develop the national human cadres to lead in this field; encourage scientific research in the field of astronomy and space sciences while developing their technologies; contribute to the national space sector; and finally, strengthen national and international relations to develop the sector. This is following the vision set by its Founder His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah.
The Academy, he added, is steadily moving towards becoming the leading presence for astronomy and space sciences and technologies on the national and international levels. SAASST is home to five distinct research laboratories in astronomy and space sciences, unique observatories in the UAE and region, a state-of-the-art Planetarium that attracts all interested segments, as well as a space exhibition that highlights the history of the Universe from beginning to its theorized end.
For his part, Saad Lotfy, Editor-in-Chief at Popular Science Arabia, stated that their goal is to inspire young people and simplify scientific information delivery. This goal, he continued, encouraged them to organize this event in partnership with the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology. Popular Science Arabia also launched a series of articles and videos related to astronomy and moon landing missions, including Apollo 11, which marked the first landing on the Moon 50 years ago (1969). They also launched the first edition of the scientific terminology guide, which explains all astronomical terms in Arabic.
The event included an exhibition of the landing on the Moon showing the story of Apollo 11 since its launch on July 16, 1969 with American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins on Saturn V on their way to the Moon. It also highlighted the Moon's orbit and landing on the surface, the first human landing that was a major step for humanity in space exploration, along with the return journey to Earth. The celebration also featured a film of original Apollo 11 landing footage, a scientific lecture on the Apollo program and other space exploration missions, and a special Planetarium show, as well as night observations at the Sharjah Observatory.