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UAE to launch first Mars mission with weeks

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will become the first Arab country to send a mission to Mars with the next forty days that will reach the red planet within seven months.
“This mission is not just about the UAE it’s about the region, it’s about the Arab issue,” Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), said.
“The region is going through tough times and we do need good news and we need the youth in the region to really start looking inwards, building their own nations and putting differences aside to co-exist with people with different faiths and backgrounds and work together.”
The Hope Mars Mission will start its journey on July 14 and is expected to reach the planet by February 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the UAE.
It will take seven months to travel the 493 million kilometres to reach Mars and begin orbit. The probe will remain orbiting Mars for an entire Martian year, 687 days, to gather sufficient data. A single orbit around Mars will take the probe 55 hours.
The project has been planned, managed and implemented by an Emirati team overseen and funded by the UAE Space Agency.
UAE’s Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sarah Al-Amiri outlined the importance of the project and said that developing talent and creating opportunities for engineers, scientists, and researchers working in natural sciences are the next important endeavours for the country.
The project was launched in 2014 and the team has designed, developed and assembled the spacecraft, and tested it for the harsh conditions it is expected to encounter. The UAE does not have a launch pad and the spacecraft was shipped to Japan in April.
Al-Amiri said the data from the mission would be publicly available from two months after the spacecraft starts to orbit Mars between August and September next year. She said that any scientist would be able to use the information and analyse the figures.
The team would also be studying the weather on Mars throughout an entire year. Over the last 60 years, only six countries have sent missions to the Red Planet.
The UAE has already launched two satellites and sent an astronaut to the International Space Station and has vowed to build a human settlement on Mars by 2117.
Three other missions are heading for Mars over the next year, including NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover, China’s Tianwen-1, which will launch next month, and ExoMars, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
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