This is a day that will be circled on calendars and remembered in decades to come across the Arab World as the UAE’s Hope Probe enters its orbit above Mars.
After years of planning, the fraught preparations before launch and months of trundling through the dark, inky vacuum of space, the Hope Probe finally reached the orbit of the red planet at 7.42pm UAE time on 09.02.2021.
For the first time in history, the green, red, white and black colours of the UAE flag circle another celestial body — a remarkable achievement for this nation and for our brothers across this region.
Across the Arabian Gulf and beyond in the wider region, the UAE’s remarkable scientific and technological elevation into a rare club of nations is being celebrated as buildings are turned red and the leadership of our homeland and everyone involved in this project receives plaudits for this mission.
Studying Mars from above or touching down and exploring its surface all add greatly to our ever-expanding body of knowledge. Right now, though, let us all look up to the dark sky and smile. Yes, for now, it is mission accomplished
Yes, this is the Hope probe — and it indeed has brought hope to the Arab World, who can now look at this mission and see what is possible by working together, focusing on building and educating youth, dreaming of what might be possible, and setting goals to focus on the future.
It is a story of cooperation and community together harnessing the abilities and talents of so many — and in that there is indeed a lesson for so many.
Serious scientific mission
But the Hope Probe is far more than merely being a symbol — it is also a serious scientific mission, one that will greatly enhance our knowledge of the climatic conditions on the surface of Mars.
In the coming months, the Hope Probe will map the surface and climate of the planet, trying to answer what happened to the atmosphere on the planet and why it is so thin now.
The importance of this research cannot be underestimated. If mankind is one day to reach out and set up a permanent colony on the red planet, then it is vitally important to understand what drives the weather patterns on the surface, how they have evolved, and scientifically predicting what is likely to happen in the future.
The information gathered by this mission will be critical in shaping future decisions — and will be used to make future key decisions for decades to come.
The UAE will be joined in orbit by a Chinese orbiter and a US probe will arrive in a matter of weeks. Studying Mars from above or touching down and exploring its surface all add greatly to our ever-expanding body of knowledge.
Right now, though, let us all look up to the dark sky and smile. Yes, for now, it is mission accomplished.