WATCH: The Launching of Es’hail 2 and Qatar’s Astronomical Dreams
Qatar’s interest in space is no secret. In 2013, Es’hail 1, the country’s first satellite was launched. The launching of Es’hail 2 in the latter half of 2017 is more than just another feather in the cap of locally based experts. Aside from building up the space ecosystem of satellites in the Middle East, it signals the growing interest in space exploration in the country.
Setting up observatories in Asia, America and Europe is part of the initiative to discover new planets. $5m have already been invested into Qatar’s Exoplanet Survey, which searches for unidentified planets in other solar systems. This survey has already proved to be something of a success. Three new exoplanets have already been discovered by an international team under the aegis of Khalid Al-Subai, the acting executive director of the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI). The planets have been named, rather unsurprisingly, Qatar 3-b, Qatar-4b and Qatar-5b, and are similar in type to our own solar system’s Jupiter.
The promotion of astronomy in the region is part of a larger dream to rejuvenate study and discovery in this field, and a further $1m has been put towards achieving this aim. It will be interesting to see how these projects develop, and the findings that may emerge.