x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

A society's advance can be boosted by a bit of stargazing

The school visits by Nasa follow a deal that will enrol 12 Emirati university students in an internship programme at the Ames Research Centre and the partnership looks towards a more technologically savvy society.

More than one teacher has wanted to blast their more precocious pupils into space. Now they're getting some technical help. The Nasa astronauts that will be visiting Dubai's schools, as we report today, should be able to inspire the class to pay a little more attention, particularly if they bring along some packets of that freeze-dried ice cream famous among schoolchildren in the earlier days of space exploration.

The UAE has been trying hard to bring the US space agency into a local orbit. The school visits follow a deal signed with the Arab Youth Venture Foundation last year that will enrol 12 Emirati university students in an internship programme at the Ames Research Centre in California. Fuelling the dreams of wide-eyed space enthusiasts, this partnership looks towards a more technologically savvy society. Every mission accomplished by an astronaut, cosmonaut or taikonaut (as the relatively recent Chinese spacefarers are called) started off with some kid staring at the stars.