UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Blazing new trails in Mars mission

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched its first mission to Mars in July 2020 to develop its scientific and technological capabilities and reduce its reliance on oil. The Hope Probe, pictured, blasted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center for a seven-month journey to the red planet, where the rocket will orbit and send back data about the atmosphere.

The Emirates Mars Mission, the first Arab Mars mission, cost U.S. $200 million, according to Minister for Advanced Sciences Sarah Amiri. It aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, studying daily and seasonal changes.

There are eight active missions exploring Mars; some orbit the planet and some have landed on its surface.
The People’s Republic of China and the United States each plans to send another by the end of 2020.

The UAE announced plans for the mission in
2014 and launched a national space program in 2017 to develop local expertise. Its population of 9.4 million, most of whom are foreign workers, lacks the scientific and industrial base of the big spacefaring nations. The UAE has an ambitious plan for a Mars settlement by 2117. Hazza al-Mansouri became the first Emirati in space in September 2019 when he flew to the International Space Station.

To develop and build the Hope Probe, Emiratis
and Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre worked with U.S. educational institutions. The space center in Dubai will oversee the spacecraft during its
494 million-kilometer journey at an average speed of 121,000 kilometers per hour.  Reuters

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