Dubai: Six nations have tried 36 times to travel to Mars so far, of which six missions have resulted in actual landings with communication being sent back to earth on five occasions. Disclosing this information at a presentation at the three-day Think Science Fair in Dubai on April 18, Dr Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the US Space & Rocket Centre, the the Official Visitor Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre, said the “lofty goal” of a young nation like the UAE to send a mission to Mars was “very impressive”. “You are well on your way,” she told students who were all ears at her session.
The UAE’s unmanned mission to Mars by 2021 will be the first by an Arab, Islamic country. The ambitious programme by the UAE Space Agency is being developed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
Barnhart, who spoke on STEM and space exploration with a focus on building a Mars generation, said, “Mars is not easy.” Focusing on the stages of a human mars mission, she said it had to evolve from an earth-reliant model till the mid-2020s through proving ground between 2018 and 2030 to earth-independent phase beyond. “It is not only important to understand how to live on Mars but also how to save the earth,” she said.
Barnhart also praised the UAE-based Compass International Tours for arranging tours for UAE students to the Space Camp at US Space & Rocket Center every year.