An age old fascination with space in the Arab world


13 Feb 2018


Christiane Amanpour

Manoug Manougian

In the second segment of this series, Christiane Amanpour describes the development of interest in space-related technologies.  Manoug Manougian discusses starting the Lebanese Rocket Society in Mount Sannin, Lebanon during the Cold War.  He describes it as a way to interest his liberal arts students in mathematics and physics.

Khalid Bakawi of the Oukaimeden Observatory in Morocco is also mentioned for his role in helping to find the TRAPPIST-1 system of exoplanets in February 2017.

Work on finding more exoplanets has been ongoing since 2009 in Qatar was well, at the Qatar Exoplanet Survey.

The emphasis here is on the youthfulness of the scientists as well as their collaborations both across the Arab world and beyond.

People who appear in the segment:  Manoug Manougian, Professor, University of South Florida; Sarah Al Amiri, Science Lead, Emirates Mars Mission; Jörg Matthias Determann, Author, Space Science and the Arab World; Farouk El Baz, Director, Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University; Michael Gillon, Principal Investigator, TRAPPIST Exoplanet Survey, University of Liege; Khalid Al Subai, Founder, Qatar Exoplanet Survey.

This segment is part two on the Mars Mission in the United Arab Emirates from the series Inside the Middle East.  It was created by CNN in association with the Misk Foundation, and originally aired February 13, 2018.


Islam:  There is little here about Islam, but it is within the bounds of what Muslims have historically understood as acceptable.

Science:  The scientific discussion here is accepted by contemporary scientists.

History:  The historical presentation reflects contemporary understanding of the people and events involved.