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30 Oct, 2022
1 min time to read

NASA has released a fly-shaped patch featuring the latest class of astronauts, consisting of 10 Americans and two Emiratis.

The patch represents an image of a fly with an astronaut reaching for the moon and looking at Mars. It symbolises NASA’s goal of having a human presence on the Moon and from there on Mars as part of the Artemis programme.

Anil Menon, one of the American astronauts, shared photos of the astronaut class and the patch on Twitter on Saturday:

NASA Astro Class 23
The fly shape represents our class, “the flies”. Twelve stars represent the candidates of class 23 and the UAE and US flags are both displayed. And of course the astronaut pose represents our faith in NASA’s return to the moon while keeping an eye on Mars!

The UAE is represented by two astronauts, Nora Al Matrooshi, the first Emirati female astronaut and Mohammed Al Mulla. They began training with their American counterparts in January at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

The Emirati astronauts joined the UAE's astronaut corps, which now has four members, in 2021 and began training at NASA shortly afterwards.

The UAE space agency and NASA met last year to discuss the Artemis programme, but there is no information on whether the Emirates will take part. Nevertheless, the UAE has signed Artemis Accords, an international agreement led by Nasa that provides for responsible exploration of space, especially the moon.