Space technology is key to effective resource management!

Space technology is key to effective resource management!

DUBAI: The role of space technologies in providing diagnostic tools that can serve as early-warning systems, help sustain natural resources and lead to more efficient resource management was examined at Expo 2020 recent Dubai Space Business Forum.

The forum, held as part of Expo’s Space Week, was attended by representatives of government bodies, the private sector, and scientific organisations. The topics covered at the forum ranged from space tourism to regulating mining on the Moon.

Francis Ngabo, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Space Agency, explained his country’s goals in relation to space and how satellite data enabled the African nation to monitor lava flows from last year’s eruption of Mount Karisimbi volcano, helping to save lives by providing more accurate early-warning systems.

Francis Ngabo said, “The key pillars in our strategy are partnerships, the development of the private sector, and capacity building in our agency. Our key mission is primarily focused on the socio-economic aspects of life in our country. That is what sets us apart from other space agencies. The biggest contribution is not in terms of monetary value but in terms of the improvement of lives in Rwanda. We can also check that licensed mining companies are complying with the environmental laws and ensuring that what they are doing is not affecting our rivers thereby protecting the environment of our country.”

Space technologies are also critical in combatting climate change and creating sustainable resources, Dr. Tomaž Rotovnik, Chief Executive Officer, SkyLabs, from Slovenia, said: “There are pressing challenges today with how to solve climate change and create sustainable resources. Space technologies will have a major role in harvesting these resources. We have a lot of ideas and we believe that these new technologies will enhance life on Earth.”

Space technology is so pervasive that people are using it in their everyday lives without realising, Nina Soleng, Head Of Communications, Kongsberg Satellite Services, from Norway, said, “Our focus is on looking at new sensors and developing new applications because more accurate sensors give improved services. Adding extra quality and insight by layering the data is definitely a trend – as is applying machine learning techniques on top of that. In general, everyone today in their daily lives is using space technology without even thinking about it.”

A frequently overlooked part of space technology was the role of ground antennas, Soleng said, “While this may not sound as exciting as rockets, these antennas deserve more of our attention. They are the lifeline of satellites — all antennas have to phone home. We take the data, try to understand it, and turn that data into actionable information such as early detection of oil spoils, identifying landmasses, monitoring tropical forests, melting ice caps … we compile a lot of data. We already monitor all offshore installations on a daily basis and in years to come, we will start doing satellite control. We monitor illegal fisheries, we support sustainable fisheries management, we monitor the European waterways to detect illegal discharge, and we are providing services around the world, we even have an antenna in Dubai.”

Other examples of the work done by Kongsberg Satellite Services include monitoring the state of one of the world’s most precious resources – its forests.

Soleng said, “We are making the data available to everyone for free in order to give us a better understanding of how – and why – deforestation happens and how to prevent it.”

Source: Expo 2020 website

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