Science

UAE launches Arab world's first Mars probe, establishes communication with orbiter

UAE launches Arab world's first Mars probe, establishes communication with orbiter”

Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. successfully launched Monday morning a rocket carrying a Mars orbiter developed by the United Arab Emirates. Dubai Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Rashid al-Maktoum, who leads the project, has said he wants Hope to prove Arabs can compete internationally in scientific achievement.

The United Arab Emirates team partnered with academic institutions in the USA, including the University of Colorado at Boulder, Arizona State University, and the University of California, Berkeley, all of which had experience designing instruments or equipment for deep space probes.

The spacecraft, which launched from Japan, is the first Mars mission originating from the UAE, and the country is extremely excited to get its foot in the space exploration door. "Through this mission our leadership has achieved a bigger goal beyond our planet, the Earth".

While at the 2015 event, Rashid said the launch of the probe would send the message that Arab civilization will once again once play a great role in contributing to human knowledge.

The mission was proposed back in 2014 as a means of encouraging teenagers to pursue careers in STEM and to mark the country's 50th anniversary, which will occur in December 2021.

Al Otaiba said the liftoff "made me feel huge pride". Most Mars missions take between 10 to 12 years to develop - but UAE scientists had just six years to carry out the project. "This mission will achieve whatever the targets are and set a new milestone for future missions not only for Arabs but will also benefit the whole space community around the world", he added. The countdown to takeoff was done in Arabic for the first time in history.

The UAE space program, established in 2006, has previously built several Earth observation satellites with South Korean assistance and has sent an Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station aboard a Russian rocket.

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Watch the historic launch in the video below. The Hope probe will take off for Mars at 1.58am UAE time on Monday.

"My prayers are always for the peace, prosperity and happiness of the UAE and its leadership".

Several dozen probes - a lot of them American - have set off for the Red Planet since the 1960s.

Simply making it this far was an impressive feat for the Gulf country. "Hope is exactly what the world needs and thank you to the UAE & @MHI_Group for inspiring all of us", NASA director Jim Bridenstine said.

The UAE hopes the mission will spur the oil-rich country's science and technology.

Japan has long collaborated with the US and other partners in defense and space technology, and the resource-poor country has traditionally kept friendly ties with Middle Eastern countries.



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