UAE makes history as first Arab country to go to outer space

Hope, the unmanned probe, travelled 300 million miles to reach Mars' orbit. The two-year mission comes with a $200 million price tag.
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DUBAI – Today, a declaration made by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seven years ago, came to fruition. The small, oil-rich Gulf state is now the first Arab nation to conduct interplanetary travel.

Without a launching pad to call their own, The Emirates Mars Mission’s (EMM) unmanned probe launched from Japan in July 2020 and successfully reached orbit on February 9.

The craft, dubbed Al Amal in Arabic, which translates to Hope, will collect enough data to produce the world’s first global map of the Martian atmosphere.

The New York Times reported that after launching, the Hope spacecraft travelled 300 million miles to reach its destination. The two-year mission will study weather conditions near Mars’ surface and share findings with the global scientific community.

Nature reported that the country that started out as a group of distinct tribes after independence from the British has become a futuristic bastion of luxury and wealth today. 

Arab News said that this extraterrestrial landmark is just a portion of the UAE’s founder’s grander vision. In 1976, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nayhan developed a keen interest in space after meeting Apollo astronauts.

The UAE’s space agency believes that this $200-million Mars mission will accelerate their country’s transition from the volatility of petroleum to the sustainability of a knowledge-based economy.

According to The Planetary Society, Hope’s mandate is vital because 3 billion years ago, Mars had an atmosphere with water. Those conditions could have supported life, and scientists do not know what caused Mars to become the cold and arid planet that it is today.

This model shows what Mars with oceans could have looked like.

Wiki Production Code: A0575

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