Dubai: While the world is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE’s youth see hope and are filled with great anticipation to witness Amal or the Mars Hope Probe begin its journey to the Red Planet on July 15.
The first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation will be launched in under three weeks from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC). It is one of several space projects that the UAE has been running in recent years, including the launch of two satellites, sending the first Emirati into space, and an ambitious goal to build a human settlement in Mars by 2117.
Sharing her thoughts with Gulf News, Mishal Faraz, 13, said: “I am filled with excitement to witness another dream unfolding. I strongly feel that this launch could not have come at a more appropriate time. While the whole world is facing a pandemic and witnessing unprecedented losses, the launch of Mars Hope Probe gives the message that this trying time will soon come to an end and there is a bright future to look forward to.”
“I look at this event as a harbinger of positivity and optimism not just for the UAE but for the entire world,” added the Indian student born and raised in Dubai and currently a Grade 8 student at The Winchester School, Jebel Ali.
“It fills me with a great sense of pride that there are no limits to dreams and ambition by the UAE. In the past, people could only use their imagination to fathom space and other planets. But we will soon be able to find out so many important facts about Mars because of the Hope Probe. I’m preparing to be enthralled by the findings and pictures that the probe will send back,” she noted.
“The UAE is a country that has innovation and forward thinking weaved into its DNA. The country is taking rapid strides towards becoming a global hub for space science studies,” Faraz added.
For 19-year old Emirati youth Abdullah Al Shateri, the Hope Probe will push him to continue to dream bigger and persevere in space studies.
“This mission shows that the UAE’s technological advancements in the space sector have reached a very high level. This mission also has the potential to motivate and inspire all the youth across the UAE and the Arab world,” he said.
Al Shateri added that one of his most cherished moments was when he met, in person, Hazzaa AlMansoori, the UAE’s first astronaut. He followed every news of Al Mansoori’s mission aboard the International Space Station and he will again actively monitor every update on Hope Probe.
“I want to become an astronaut and my passion for aeronautics, coupled with my interest in engineering, is always high because of various space programmes by the UAE,” he added.
Hope for UAE and humanity
Seven-year old Filipino student, Adler John Simon T. Sergio, said Mars Probe is a figure of hope for the UAE and the world.
“The UAE Mars Hope Mission is very fascinating. This is a big thing for the country, for all Arab nations, and for the entire world,” he said.
“In my Science class, we were taught that space exploration is important for the world’s progress. Innovation can help the entire world and I hope and pray for the success of this space exploration,” Sergio added.
Indian sisters Aashika Singh, 9, and Aakanksha Singh, 11, echoed the same feeling. They said: “The Mars mission is for the betterment of mankind. The probe will be a breakthrough moment for generations to come as it will give us a complete picture of our neighbouring planet.”
Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and Emirates Mars Mission Deputy Project Manager, earlier said Hope Probe will answer the gap in data and understanding of Mars. It will provide the first full picture of the planet’s climate as the probe will orbit for an entire Martian year or 687 Earth days to gather sufficient data.
“Studying Mars’ weather system, including changes in the atmosphere and climate, could help lead to an understanding of how Mars, a planet that used to share characteristics with the Earth, went from having rivers and lakes to having no water on its surface,” Al Amiri explained.
From UAE and beyond
More young Emiratis are taking wider interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics because of the Hope Probe.
Mariam Ahmed Al Baloushi, who took part in the Space and Rocketry Academy UAE (SARAUAE) camp in Dubai, said: “Mars Probe and other space projects by the UAE have inspired me to take up a serious study of space science. I learned about the different types of rockets and their functionalities. I also designed a rocket that was launched to mimic real rockets.”
Sabha Al Mahmeed, a Grade 8 student who also joined the SARAUAE camp last December, added: Learning about the mission was so inspiring and motivating. Just knowing that the initial designing stage was carried out by a purely Emirati team made me so proud to be an Emirati.”
“The Hope Probe has inspired me to study harder so I can join the innovative and brave UAE space team in the future,” she added.
Ali Al Mahmeed, a Grade 6 student at Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys, added: “Hope Probe made me believe that dreams can really come true. And with determination, our dreams can go beyond the sky. I am looking forward to the day when people can go and visit Mars for a vacation.”