Dubai: Marhaba, welcome to Mars!
Visitors arriving at UAE airports will receive a Martian ink stamp on their passports, in commemoration of Hope Probe’s historic arrival to Mars on February 9.
The stamp — produced by the UAE Government Media Office in collaboration with Dubai Airports — is a memorable reminder of a new era for Arabs in time and space with a special message written in both Arabic and English that says: “You’ve arrived in the Emirates. The Emirates is arriving at Mars on 09.02.2021.”
Red ink stamp
Printed in red ink, the stamp also shows the logo of Hope Probe orbiting the Red Planet and emblem of the UAE’s ambition and guiding principle that “Impossible is Possible,” according to a statement released by the UAE Government Media Office (GMO) on Tuesday.
Some UAE visitors already had the stamp on February 7. The special passport stamp marks the Hope Probe’s arrival on Mars on February 9, when it will enter its most critical phase of Mars orbit insertion. If successful, the probe will then shift to its scientific orbit to provide the first complete picture of the Martian atmosphere.
Khaled Al Shehhi, executive director of Production and Digital Communication Sector, UAE Government Media Office, said: “On July 20, 2020, the world watched in excitement as Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe blasted off towards Mars. Now, seven months later, on February 9 2021, the Hope Probe is set to arrive to the Red Planet’s orbit — a major milestone for the UAE and for the Arab world that embodies hope and conveys the ambition and motivation of the region’s people in overcoming the most pressing challenges to realise their dreams.”
“To commemorate this historic occasion and celebrate the mission’s incredible victory with the rest of the world, we have created a special stamp printed with ‘Martian Ink’ — made of basalt rocks found in the deserts of the UAE. This will be embossed on the passports of all the visitors to the UAE arriving at this time for a limited period,” he added.
Rocks from Al Hajar Mountains
The red ink is actually not from Mars. According to GMO, the limited-edition stamp is made from the world’s first ‘Martian Ink,’ extracted from volcanic basalt rocks that give Mars its distinct rusty colour. “The rocks were collected during a special mission to the UAE’s eastern Al Hajar Mountains and Sharjah’s Mleiha Desert by experts and gemologists. They were then crushed into a fine paste, dried in the sun, and mixed with adhesives to create three separate colours that represent the Red Planet — ready for stamping into the passports of thousands of visitors.”
Basalt rocks, which can only be found in certain parts of the world, date back tens of millions of years and give the UAE’s mountain ranges their distinct rugged look. The Hope Probe’s historic journey to the Red Planet coincides with a year of celebrations to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.