hope probe rocket
The UAE Hope Probe Image Credit: Reuters

Right now, Mars may appear in a photograph just as a fuzzy red light in the inky black of space but its importance and outline will become far clear in the coming weeks. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, shared the unique and historic image captured by the Hope Probe earlier this week as it trundles through the void of the universe on its rendezvous with the red planet in early February.

There are many millions of kilometres of space to travel before the UAE-designed and built Hope Probe reaches Mars and begins its mission in earnest, mapping and researching the exact terrain and makeup of the planet. Come February 9, the Hope Probe will be in orbit there, beginning a new chapter in our understanding of Mars and capping a remarkable journey for the spacecraft and this nation.

Excited optimism

Few have ventured so far. Only the UAE has achieved this so quickly, a young nation reaching beyond Earth, venturing beyond, setting its sights on Mars and adding a new dimension to mankind’s collective knowledge and understanding of what lies there. Since its successful launch in July, the Hope Probe has set its course for destination Mars. It is a journey fraught with challenges. But it is a voyage that is one of excited optimism and a belief that we can and will succeed.

Earlier this week, the UAE turned 49. Few other nations on this planet can say that they have achieved so much in so short a period. We are a prospering and proud nation. And we are a member of a very small and select group that has dared to reach for the stars and set course on an expedition to another planet. Yes, Mars is within range of the Hope Probe’s cameras. And yes, the Hope Probe has already shown just how far we have all come on a remarkable expedition here on Earth.

The Hope Probe is a tangible project already showing how our youth have been educated, how their talent and expertise have blossomed, how technical brilliance and scientific resolve have combined to conceive, plan, build and set dreams in motion. It matters not right now that the photograph is but a grainy image. What is clear is the focus of our thoughts and achievements. And there are so many more miles to travel together.