Dubai: The name ‘Zayed Probe’ is among the more popular suggestions in response to the tweet of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, asking people nationwide to contribute to the name selection process for the Mars probe.

Shaikh Mohammad tweeted on April 14 that the public will be given the opportunity to suggest possible names for the Mars probe using the hashtag #Mars_Probe (in Arabic). The Mars Probe, an unmanned spacecraft, will be sent into outer space in 2021 by the UAE to coincide with the country’s 50th anniversary.

Following the announcement made on Twitter, Shaikh Mohammad said in his next tweet: “The UAE Mars Probe is an Arab-Islamic project so we want all Arab youth to be involved in it. We want to open for them the doors of hope and optimism, we want their ambition to reach and embrace the sky.”

Thousands of tweets have been flooding Twitter with the hashtag #Mars_Probe (in Arabic) with suggestions such as ‘Almisbar’ — which is the word for ‘probe’ in Arabic — and ‘Union’ as possible names for the unmanned spacecraft.

Twitter user Farag Al Mansouri suggested the name ‘Peace Probe’. He explained in his tweet that in the midst of adversity, war and insecurity, the probe should be given that name in the hope of creating real peace in the world.

Another Twitter user suggested that the UAE’s National Day numbers, 1202 (December 2), be used to name the probe since reversing the numbers will lead to 2021, which is the year the Mars probe will be launched.

Many tweeps suggested naming the probe ‘Zayed’ or ‘Zayed UAE 1971’ in remembrance of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

“I think it should be named ‘Zayed’ or ‘Zayed UAE 1971’ because it shows the progress this country has made over the years, guided by the vision of Shaikh Zayed, the founding father of the country,” said Laila Ali, a resident of Dubai, who is from Palestine.

Farah Gareeb, an Egyptian resident, said she has spent most of her life in the UAE and believes that the probe should be named after Shaikh Zayed for his long-term vision for the country’s progress and development.

“Shaikh Zayed had a vision [for the UAE] and the country has grown in phenomenal ways. He planted the seeds and they grew into what we see as the UAE today, so I think that naming the Mars probe ‘Zayed’ is ideal,” she said.

More suggestions are being tweeted by people residing in the UAE and elsewhere.

The Mars Probe mission will explore the planet and help expand people’s knowledge about space exploration. Currently, only nine countries have space programmes that aim at exploring planet Mars and the UAE is one of them.


Maria Botros is a trainee at Gulf News