At the beginning of the year, the UAE had announced that it is preparing to send the first Emirati astronaut to space within the “next few years”, according to the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

The announcement was made at the launch of the UAE National Space Programme at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC).

Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE space programme sends out a strong positive message to the Arab world.

“Our objective is to show the world that we are able to contribute to humanity through quality knowledge and scientific discoveries,” WAM news agency reported.

Here are 6 of the best photographs NASA has taken of the UAE over the years:

Forget Google Maps, these astronauts have given us something much more exciting!

1. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield captured this powerful image in 2016.

2. Absolutely amazing picture by British astronaut Tim Peake!

3. If you zoom in close enough, you could probably find your house!

4. This epic night image was taken by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet earlier this year.

Space stations often take night images because they’re incredibly useful for geographers. With those images, experts are able to see the details of cities that would otherwise be concealed during the day.

5. US Army Colonel and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough with this breathtaking shot!

6. Just look at the details!

BONUS: Here are two of ABU DHABI! Taken by Italian astronaut Ignazio Magnani