The UAE has today successfully launched its mission to Mars, the first of three similar missions to take place this month. The Hope probe was originally due to launch last week but was postponed twice due to weather conditions at the launch site in Japan's Tanegashima Space Centre.
#UAE Launches Spacecraft to Mars . Becomes First Arab Country to do so.
Video of historic launch from Japan moments ago: pic.twitter.com/navnfweADB
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) July 19, 2020
The historic mission is also the Arab world's first and is expected to reach Mars' orbit by February next year, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the Emirates. Although unlike the other two space missions to the Red Planet, it will not land but will orbit the planet for a whole Martian year, or 687 days. The spacecraft will gather data on Mars' climate and weather, it is hoped it can further our understanding of how Mars lost much of its air and water.
The mission was led by a young Emirati engineer, Sarah Al-Amiri who told the BBC: "It was an anchor for an entire generation that stimulated everyone that watched it to push further and to dream bigger."
"Today I am really glad that the children in the Emirates will wake up on the morning of the 20th of July having an anchor project of their own, having a new reality, having new possibilities, allowing them to further contribute and to create a larger impact on the world."
The Emirates Mars Mission cost $200 million, according to Al-Amiri, and involved collaboration with American universities. The National Space Programme, which was launched in 2017, has plans to establish settlements on the planet by 2117. The UAE already made history last year when Hazza Al-Mansouri became the first Emirati in space when he flew to the International Space Station.