Emirati cuisine is set to reach new heights – literally.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced that astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansouri will host a traditional Emirati food night in space.
Hazzaa will become the first Emirati astronaut to venture into orbit and is scheduled to set foot on the International Space Station (ISS) on 25th September this year via the Russian Soyuz MS-15 spaceflight.
To live up to the occasion, Hazzaa will don traditional Emirati attire while introducing to his fellow astronauts three local delicacies: madrooba, saloona and balaleet.
The 35-year-old military fighter pilot, along with UAE’s back-up astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, are currently trying out various sets of halal food to help the Russian Space Food Laboratory company determine the suitable dishes to bring on the eight-day mission.
“The astronaut’s meals are prepared according to specific requirements to provide balanced nutrition while ensuring that they are easy to carry, store, and use in a non-gravitational environment,” said Hazzaa.
“These foods are processed at high temperatures to be stored for long periods. During the training period, we evaluated about 200 different types of halal food on a scale of one to nine, from most to least favourite.
“We enjoyed our experience in tasting Emirati foods prepared for space, but the taste of the food prepared for space varies compared to the food we eat on Earth.”
The upcoming expedition is just part of the UAE’s bigger plan to play a significant role in space industry.
During the recent Liwa Ajman Dates and Honey Festival, the UAE’s Space Agency revealed its idea to cultivate palm trees on Mars.
Speaking to WAM government news agency, Rashid Al Zaabi, creator of the Palm Trees Experiment in Space Concept, said that they chose the palm tree because the environment on Mars is similar to the one needed to cultivate palm trees.
He added that the research intends to strengthen the UAE’s efforts to make local and international partnerships and create food security on Earth and in space.
The country’s much-anticipated Hope Mars Mission will launch in 2020 and is projected to reach Mars in 2021, in time for the UAE’s 50th anniversary.