“In 1976, the late Sheikh Zayed [Bin Sultan Al Nahyan] met Nasa experts because space was his ambition. Today, you are making his dream come true.” With these powerful words, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, started his video-conference conversation with the UAE’s Hope Mars probe’ team, stationed in Japan on Saturday.
He was joined on the call by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
The call, which came as the team prepares for the historic launch from Japan, has put this landmark achievement in perspective. “We are confident that we will live up to the trust of our ancestors who established this homeland and gave us stability, prosperity and bright future,” Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed noted.
The mission to Mars, which began as an idea in 2013, carries the powerful message the UAE leaders sounded out on Saturday. The probe, besides its scientific significance, represents the ultimate hope, not only of the UAE but also the entire Arab nation for a better future and place among the developed countries.
The mission was made possible by the determination and the skills of the UAE’s young scientists, designers and engineers who worked hard, during tough times, particularly the global pandemic, to realise the ambitious vision of the country and its leadership.
It is the first Arab venture into not only space but also to Mars — only four other countries in the world have ever attempted such adventure; the Soviet Union, the United States, China and India.
Hope represents the UAE’s contribution to the progress of humanity. It is expected to send critical data that would provide the first and most accurate picture of the Mars atmosphere, including the weather dynamics. It will be the first probe to study the Martian climate changes, which will help in observing the red planet’s dust storms and their impact on its atmosphere.
This critical data will be collected for a Martian year (187 earth days) and once verified, will be shared with the research institutes around the world. It will be the UAE gift to the world as the nation celebrates its golden anniversary next year.
Finally, as Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid noted, the mission was made possible by the determination and the skills of the UAE’s young scientists, designers and engineers who worked hard, during tough times, particularly the global pandemic, to realise the ambitious vision of the country and its leadership. The country owes them a debt of gratitude.