A mere three hours after Shaikh Mohammad’s announcement on his Twitter page, the #Mars_ Probe became a trending topic in the UAE on the social media site. Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, called on the Arab nation to come up with a name for the UAE Mars probe that will be launched from the UAE in 2021.

Shaikh Mohammad made the announcement on his Twitter page, where he asked the public to share their suggestions using the hashtag #Mars_Probe (in Arabic).

Only three hours after his announcement, the #Mars_Probe became a trending topic in the UAE on Twitter, with 14,000 tweets.

“The UAE Mars probe is an Arab-Islamic project and 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,” said Shaikh Mohammad via Twitter.






Shaikh Mohammad announced last year that the UAE will be sending an unmanned spacecraft to Mars by 2021, coinciding with the country’s 50th anniversary.

He had also announced that a UAE space agency would be created to supervise the mission and coordinate the country’s growing space technology.

“My brothers and sisters, we started today with god’s grace the launch of the first Arab-Islamic probe to discover planet Mars. It is going to be the first steps for Arabs in entering the age of space,” said Shaikh Mohammad on Twitter yesterday.

Shaikh Mohammad also said the journey to Mars is a big challenge and a source of inspiration to the Arab nation as a whole.

Twitter user Sulaiman Esmail suggested calling the probe ‘ZAYED-UAE1971’, while user Ali Al Qaydi suggested the name ‘Discover UAE’.

These are just examples of the thousands of suggested names for the Mars probe on Twitter.

It is expected to take the probe nine months to cross more than 92 million kilometres to reach Mars.

The UAE is one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore the Red Planet.

The mission, led by Emiratis, will expand the nation’s human capital through knowledge transfer from international partners, as well as increasing human knowledge about space exploration and distant planets.

Shaikh Mohammad said last year that the UAE Space Agency would be responsible for supervising and organising all such activities, developing the sector, ensuring knowledge transfer, enhancing the UAE’s position as a global player in aerospace, and maximising the contribution of space industries to the national economy. The agency will report to the Cabinet and enjoy financial and administrative independence.

UAE investments in space technologies already exceed Dh20 billion, including satellite data and TV broadcast company, Al Yah Satellite Communications, mobile satellite communication company, Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications, and Earth mapping and observation system, Dubai Sat.