05 Aug First Mars Mission from UAE – Hope Mars Mission
This summer 2020 might be a bummer to most of us because of the pandemic, but to those involved in the space centers, they will experience a fulfilling summer in weeks to come. Three missions are launching towards the red planet, with the first already launched on 20th July.
The Hope Mars Mission built by the United Arab Emirates took off from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan, and is expected to arrive at Mars by February 2021. The Hope spacecraft orbiter will be studying Mars from above the planet, joined by a fleet of size other spacecrafts to further research on the Martian atmosphere and surface. Understanding the complex climate system warrants a closer monitoring of the dynamics of the planet across all four seasons, where the researchers hope to solve the longstanding mysteries of how the planet lost much of its early atmosphere and liquid water.
This is a momentous event for UAE, being the first time the country will orbit Mars and stay there for a year – which is equivalent to 687 days on Earth. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted “This is our latest contribution to the world”, where the country aims to add a new dimension to human knowledge with the data gathered by the probe. This ambitious step is a catalyst for the country’s growing STEM sector, reflecting the broader ambition in the UAE to drive innovation and diversify the oil dependent economy. The mission leaders hope that this burgeoning space sector will inspire young people in the region to practice science and technology, maximising the transfer of knowledge from more equipped countries, allowing UAE’s young cadre of engineers and scientists to quickly develop the required expertise.
Considering that most Mars missions take around 10 to 12 years to plan and develop, the 6 years period that the UAE scientists took is an impressive feat for the Gulf Country. Flying to Mars might just be the spark that ignites the dreams of a new generation. This could well be a turning point for the country to shift their focus away from conflicts to human and economic development.