Dubai: The UAE’s Hope Probe Mission to Mars was postponed for a second time due to unstable weather conditions at the launch site in Tanegashima Island, Japan on Wednesday. A new launch date has yet to be announced and the anticipation among Emiratis and expats has only grown to finally witness the first Arab interplanetary mission shoot up to the stars.
Speaking to Gulf News, Emirati student Noura Ali Al Juwaied, 16, said it has been her dream since she was seven to become an astronaut and be the first woman to reach Mars.
“Hope Mars mission has inspired me a lot. It showed me that nothing is impossible. The probe, which will study the weather pattern in Mars, was built in only six years and this feat has motivated me to work even harder and never give up my dream,” she added.
Noura said she previously joined the Space and Rocketry Academy UAE (SARAUAE) camp in Dubai to fill her curiosity and learn how rockets work. “I also learned what it would take to become an astronaut and I felt proud of my country that has been providing us with great opportunities in the field of science,” she added.
Another young Emirati, Abdullah Al Hammadi, 17, a tech inventor who was previously enrolled at DEWA Academy, added: Hope Probe is a symbol of hope and a beacon of inspiration not only for a young Emirati like me but for every Arab youth and resident of the UAE.”
“Although the launch of Amal (Hope Probe in Arabic) has been postponed again, I do not doubt that it will lift off within the so-called launch window,” he added.
The launch window or the period when Earth and Mars are closest to each other is open until August 3, 2020. Hope Probe must be launched within this time to take advantage of the shortest period and least amount of energy needed to reach Mars orbit.
“It was unfortunate to have another delay but nonetheless I’m sure the launch will be a success, given the hard work and dedication of the Emirati scientists and engineers,” said Satyavrath Bharadwaj, 18, student at The Millennium School.
“Space science has shown how complicated, yet simple our universe is and how much we’ve progressed as a civilisation but still have just begun our journey into the cosmos. These facts have made me take keen interest in space science,” he added.
Seven-year old Filipino student Adler John Simon T. Sergio has also taken keen interest in space exploration because of Hope Probe.
He said: “I wished Hope Probe was launched as planned but it was also very important to consider safety first. I am sure the mission will be a great success as the UAE is making a journey to bring another milestone not just for the country but for the whole world.”
Indian expat Irene Mary Eby, 20, a student of aeronautical engineering, also said: “I am sure that the rescheduling has been done to ensure that the mission is successful and there is no compromise on safety.”
“All of us want this mission to attain the objectives that are set and a difference of few days is not going to make any major difference. We are all looking forward to the launch and we are confident that the efforts of our leaders and all those who are involved will get realised soon,” she added.
Why is it raining in Japan?
It is currently rainy season in Japan which starts from June and last until mid July. A lot of rainfall takes place during this period, including intense downpours.
Hope Probe was originally scheduled for launch on July 15, 2020 at 12:51am (UAE time) from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC), but storm clouds rolled in around the launch pad ahead of the scheduled liftoff.
Launch was reset on Friday (July 17) at 12:43am (UAE time) but on Wednesday, the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre announced further delay of the launch due to unstable weather conditions at the launch site. A new launch date is yet to be announced.
When will weather clear up?
Based on a weather forecast by Japan Meteorological Agency, it will be cloudy with occasional scattered showers around Kagoshima Prefecture, where Tanegashima Island is part of, until Sunday.
Weather, however, is expected to improve by Monday, when it will be sunny but mostly cloudy. The probability of precipitation or chance of rain is at 30 per cent on July 20 that will decline to 20 per cent by Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wind gust is from a low of 7-11km/h on Monday morning up to 20-27 km/hr at 9pm (Japan time) on July 20.
Hope Probe will be carried by a H-IIA rocket manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). It will be the 42nd for MHI since 2001. The H-IIA rocket can reach a launch speed of up to 34,082kph and has a 97.6 per cent successful launch rate.