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The Martian moons — Deimos and Phobos — were projected in the sky using a new technology that has never been seen before in the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: If you’ve recently seen two moons appearing in Dubai sky — they were not a social media hoax but not real either. The two celestial bodies that suddenly appeared in Al Qudra area in Dubai were part of a campaign organised by the UAE Government Media Office to celebrate Hope Probe’s rendezvous with Mars.

The media office said the Martian moons — Deimos and Phobos — “were projected in the sky using a new technology that has never been seen before in the UAE. Two giant 100-meter cranes and an advanced 40-metre screen have been used to make the moons appear realistically in the sky and visible from long distances.”

View from 500m miles

“The idea was to create a way that allows everyone to see what Hope Probe is capturing 500 million miles away. (It was aimed at driving) awareness and create excitement around Hope Probe’s insertion on the Mars atmosphere, a milestone in UAE history that will happen on February 9,” the Media Office said in a statement sent to Gulf News on Monday.

“The Mars Mission is one of the biggest challenges of the country’s history and one of the boldest initiatives of the UAE, that is to conquer space. So, to create awareness to this important fact, nothing better than bring the two moons of Mars to Earth,” noted Khaled AlShehhi, executive director of Production and Digital Communication Sector at the UAE Government Media Office.

Two moons, two directions

Deimos and Phobos were both discovered by American astronomer Asaph Hall in 1877 and named after the sons of Ares from Greek mythology. (Mars is named after the Roman god of war, which is Ares in Greek). Phobos travels fast from west to east and does so three times in a Martian day, while Deimos travels from east to west and rises once on most days and twice on other days.

A day or sol in Mars is equivalent to approximately 24 hours, 39 minutes, 35 seconds on Earth while a Martian year is equivalent to approximately 687 Earth days.