We already think the UAE is out of this world – and now the nation is launching its very own mission to mars!
Ambitious plans to explore the Red Planet have been given lift off, with a probe set to begin its journey from space in just three years’ time.
The UAE Space Agency ‘hope probe’ is scheduled to reach Mars by 2021, commemorating the milestone 50th anniversary of the foundation of the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE is one of just nine countries on the planet (well, this one, anyway) working on an active plan to visit Mars.
The rocket must blast off from Earth during a brief launch window in July 2020. This is because the Earth and Mars orbit the Sun at different rates and are aligned at their closest point only once every two years.
A total of 75 Emirati scientists and engineers are taking part in the project, known as the Emirates Mars Mission.
The UAE will be boldly going where no Arab country has gone before. It will be the first Arab country to send a mission to another planet.
The unmanned craft will be decked out with state-of the-art gadgets, including an Infra-Red Spectrometer which will examine temperature patterns, ice, water vapour and dust in the atmosphere, an Ultraviolet Spectrometer which will study the upper atmosphere and traces of oxygen and hydrogen further into space, plus a trusty digital camera to send back high-resolution colour images to the UAE.
The program is fully funded and supervised by the UAE Space Agency, while the probe is being developed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in collaboration with international partners.
A statement on the Emirates Mars Mission website says: “The Hope spacecraft will advance human knowledge about the atmosphere and climate on Mars, about which very little is known. This mission will produce the first truly global picture of the Martian atmosphere.
“It will study how the lower and upper layers of the atmosphere interact with each other. It will search for connections between today’s Martian weather and the ancient climate of the Red Planet.”