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Emiratis gather at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Emirates Mars Mission will lead to a “more competitive” Arab world economy and a stronger integration with the global society, a top Emirati official said ahead of Wednesday morning’s launch.

“We are actually building the capacity and capability in advanced sciences in the UAE and the region. This is something important for everyone. It will help the region to have stability and a more competitive economy and integrate more with the global community,” said Omran Sharaf, project manager of Emirates Mars Mission, Hope Probe.

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Omran Sharaf, project manager of Emirates Mars Mission, Hope Probe. Image Credit: WAM

He expressed hope that the mission would inspire the region to be more innovative, creative and knowledge based.

“Having a stable region is very important for the world. Having a strong national and regional economy is important for global community,” he pointed out

“That’s why the UAE called the mission ‘Hope’ as it will make such an impact, but you cannot measure it today or tomorrow, you will see it in ten or 15 years.”

According to Sharaf, 37, the project has the potential to inspire 100 million youth in the Arab world and the data collected from Mars - being the first of such a mission by an Arab nation – will benefit the whole region.

The Hope Probe is scheduled to lift off at 00:51:27 UAE time on Wednesday, July 15, from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.

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Scientists working on the Hope Probe. Image Credit: WAM

Asked whether any new challenges emerged after transferring the Hope Probe to Japan, Sharaf said: “There are normal technical challenges only, which we can overcome. Preparations are going as scheduled.”

The Hope Probe would serve the humanity in many different ways, especially by sharing data openly without any restrictions with more than 200 institutions across the world.

“This international collaboration is a new model and a new approach, which will bring nations closer to each other,” he said.

“When it comes to science of the mission, we will have the first holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day and various seasons. Global scientific community will get such data for the first time.

“We are serving humanity by bringing this new knowledge, which they did not have before. Such knowledge will help us understand more about our own planet.”

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Employees work at the control room of the Mars Mission at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in the Gulf city of Dubai. - The oil-rich United Arab Emirates has built a nuclear power programme and sent a man to space, and now plans to join another elite club by sending a probe to Mars. Only the United States, India, the former Soviet Union, and the European Space Agency have successfully sent missions to orbit the Red Planet, while China is preparing to launch its first Mars rover later this month. The UAE, a collection of sheikhdoms better known for its skyscrapers, palm-shaped islands and mega attractions, is now pushing to join their ranks in what will be a first for the Arab world. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP) Image Credit: AFP

Sharaf, who played a crucial role in the launch of UAE’s first satellite DubaiSat-1 in 2009 and further advanced satellite DubaiSat-2 in 2013, recalled the initial discussions about the UAE’s Mars Mission in 2013.

“I feel it was yesterday. It has been almost six-and-a-half years. I feel it is a dream that finally it is really happening,” he explained.

During these years, the mission has influenced the youth and educational system in the UAE, Sharaf added.

The educational curriculum went through a transformation as universities introduced space-related courses and more science-based programmes.

More students are opting for science subjects since then, he pointed out. “There was an impact on whole UAE community. Everybody is keen on the Mars Mission and its science and technology.”