This is the first Arab nation and the fifth nation in history to send a probe to the Red Planet.

Would you love to visit the Red Planet? We do, and are hoping Elon Musk reaches there soon, but that’s too Sci-Fi than reality. However, visiting Mars could be a dream fulfilled soon, it seems all are now thinking Mars-ward. There are only five nations who have ever launched space missions to Mars. These include: the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and an Arab nation also did so. The United Arab Emirates is the first Arab nation and fifth nation in the world to send a probe to Mars.

Related media: UAE Successfully Launches Arab World’s First Mars Mission

Thinking Marsward

Throughout the course of history, there are five space agencies in seven countries that has ever launched a space mission to the Red Planet. The first successful mission was in 1965 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by the United States; the former Soviet Union Space Program by the United Soviet Socialist Republic; the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), while others, including the space agencies in Russia, Japan and China, have all made attempts to the Red Planet.

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is a United Arab Emirates Space Agency unmanned space exploration mission to Mars, and this is the first time in history an Arab nation has accomplished such a feat. The Mars mission (also known as the Hope probe) was launched on July 19, 2020 and was projected to reach it’s destination on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. Hope is said to have taken seven months to reach it’s destination on a journey of 494 million kilometer (307 miles) long.

The mission was designed, developed, and launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in the UAE, which would make the UAE the fifth space agency and first interplanetary mission led by an Arab country to reach the Red Planet. The entire mission is estimate at a cost of $200 million and was launched from a Japanese space center. The Emirati Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and chair of the UAE Space Agency, Sarah Al-Amiri, said the country is “comfortably waiting, anxiously anticipating our entry into space exploration as a nation.”

Image: Kyodo / AP Images | An H2A rocket carrying Hope, a Mars orbiter developed by the United Arab Emirates, takes off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, on July 20, 2020.

Women In Space

Image: Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center

According to Al-Amiri, women make up an overwhelming majority of the mission team. Who says Arab nations are sexist?

“Our science team is 80% women. They are there based on merit and based on what they contribute towards the design and development of the mission,” Al-Amiri told Deutsche Welle News.

“I myself have not faced any adversity throughout my career, be it working at the space center from almost 12 years ago, all the way to becoming a minister within the cabinet,” she added.

The UAE plans to expand it’s scientific quest and technological capabilities and reduce their economic dependency on oil and natural gas. The program “has accelerated the rate of development of capabilities within the Emirates for both scientists and also engineers,” Al-Amiri said. She also added that the UAE hopes take advantage of space exploration to further their design and development of complex systems in other industries.

Arabians Taking It To Space

Image: Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the UAE, warned that the attempt to lock into orbit around Mars has a 50 percent chance of failing.

“But even if we could not enter the orbit, we’ve already made history. This is the farthest point in the universe to be reached by Arabs throughout their history. Our goal is to give hope to all Arabs that we are capable of competing with the rest of the world,” he said.

In 2020, both NASA and China launched Mars missions also set to reach their destinations in February 2021. We’re wondering when Elon Musk will set off?

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Mon, Feb 08, 2021.


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