For over three-and-a-half months, a 1,350 kilogram object is silently cruising through the dark expanse of our universe at a speed of 103,379km per hour. This cubic object, no bigger than a compact car, is a product of UAE leadership’s interplanetary ambition and Emirati advancement in the field of space exploration. The Hope Probe is well past halfway of the 480-million km journey to the Red Planet.
On Saturday, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the date and the precise time of entry into the Martian orbit — February 9, 2021 at 7.42pm (UAE time). “We will celebrate the arrival of the first Arab mission to Mars,” Shaikh Mohammad tweeted. The mission was launched on July 20 and has so far travelled 290 million km.
The probe will study composition of the Martian atmosphere and will be a big contribution to global understanding of the red planet and will help UAE build its own knowledge bank on space exploration
The Probe’s successful arrival will place the UAE in a special league of nations — United States, former Soviet Union, European Space Agency and India — that have demonstrated ability to reach the Red Planet. The arrival, as Shaikh Mohammad said, will be a historic achievement, one that places great responsibility on future generations to continue the march of progress and will coincide with the celebration of UAE’s golden jubilee.
National cadre of scientists and domain experts
The probe will study composition of the Martian atmosphere and will be a big contribution to global understanding of the red planet and will help UAE build its own knowledge bank on space exploration. Far more important than the Martian data that Hope Probe is expected to gather and transmit back to Earth during its two-year stay, the mission will help the nation in building a national cadre of scientists and domain experts, a process that will continue for generations.
Moreover, as Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, underlined, the Hope Probe will bring about major achievements in the fields of science, knowledge and innovation for the next 50 years. Lastly, the mission will help develop scientific temper and instill a new culture among young Emiratis.
The Emirati Mars mission was launched when the world is busy grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic, a disease that has consumed global resources and energy, causing widespread disruptions worldwide. The UAE, also affected by the virus, remarkably remained focus on the mission and followed a project timeline that was set long before the virus struck, demonstrating the steadfastness of the Emirati leadership.