The UK Government’s GREAT Festival of Innovation 2018 has taken place recently in Hong Kong. As an annual event for several years, the Festival has provided a series of thought-provoking and lively keynotes, masterclasses, and showcases involving industrialists, educationalists and futurologists to an international audience.

Space technology is among the key topics in this year’s GREAT Festival. Professor Yang Gao from University of Surrey, a leading space roboticist and Director of UK national hub on space AI robotics (, was an invited speaker at the panels of “Down to Earth: Space Innovation” and “Global Warning”.

At the panel, Professor Gao said: “We are curious as human beings to push the frontiers of exploration on Earth as well as into the space. Space scientists and engineers are pushing the boundaries of AI robotics, so that we will have robots help repair satellites in space, assembly large space telescope, remove space junks, or help establish infrastructures on the Moon, Mars and beyond.”

Professor Gao and her colleagues also spoke about the urgent need for international investment and regulation to prevent space from becoming as damaged as our oceans by human development. The panel agreed that development on the Moon and other planets is a ‘virtual certainty’ and such development will have requirements or impacts on major future infrastructures such as interplanetary communication.


The Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIR-SPACE) led the University of Surrey was established in 2017 and will go beyond the state-of-the-art technologies in robotic sensing, perception, mobility, mechanism and autonomy for future space systems. See FAIR-SPACE introduction film at: