Dubai: A Dubai-based Filipino sand artist has created a massive artwork on a Dubai beach as his expression of send-off to the historic Hope Probe mission to Mars.
It took five hours for Nathaniel Alapide to finish the 15-metre wide and 30-metre long sand art on Tuesday, a day before the original launch date of Hope Probe from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC).
Hours after Alapide finished his artwork, the UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre announced the decision to delay the lift-off due to bad weather conditions at the launch site.
It was then moved to Friday, when the incessant rain was expected to subside, only to get put off a second time ahead of a third launch date slated for the early hours of Monday morning, July 20.
“I hope my creation will send sunny good vibes from the Dubai sands to the Japanese island launch site,” Alapide told Gulf News.
Alapide used the beach-front of Rixos Premium Dubai JBR as his canvas. Using only a rake, he drew Hope Probe orbiting the Red Planet. He also made the countdown in both English and Arabic as well as the Nation Brand logo and Emirates Mars Mission logo.
He noted that the focal point of his artwork was on the Arabic countdown as the Hope Probe launch will mark the first time in space exploration history that countdown for a space mission will be done in Arabic.
“This is a proud moment not only for the UAE but for the entire Arab world,” said Alapide, adding: “Hope Probe will inspire the young and future generations to be creative and determined to chase their dreams.”
He also noted that like art, which has to be enjoyed by the people, “Hope Probe will also provide new information for humankind to understand our neighbouring planet.”
Not the first time
This was not the first time though that Alapide has used his talent to pay his tributes to the UAE’s space programme.
In September last year, he created a 4X6-metre artwork resembling Hazzaa AlMansoori, the first Emirati astronaut, before his trip to the International Space Station (ISS).
The artwork showed Hazzaa in his Sokol spacesuit with the victory sign, popularised by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It also showed the Soyuz spacecraft zooming from Earth with Hazzaa’s name on the side.
“I made the sand art to congratulate Hazzaa and also for all those who dreamed of becoming an astronaut and of going to space. Hazzaa carries a part of my dream with him and seeing him reach space gives me unbelievable bliss,” Alapide earlier told Gulf News.
Alapide said he too had once dreamt of becoming an astronaut. He was nine when his dreams of space adventures began. “When I was a kid, I would climb up to the roof of our house on a full-moon night and dream of becoming an astronaut,” he said.
He then went on to become an artist and painted portraits of astronauts and spaceships on canvases, and now on sand.
Alapide said: “I will continue to use my talent to show my support for the UAE. I wish Hope Probe great success. Onwards to Mars and beyond.”