By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, March 9 2021—
The United Arab Emirates is not staying behind in the race to study our celestial red neighbour, as a couple of weeks ago, the Middle Eastern country celebrated the arrival of their first artificial satellite into the Martian atmosphere.
The spaceship was named “Hope Probe” and is only the fifth one in history to reach Mars’ orbit — according to the BBC — and was launched last summer, on July 20. The mission is the first one developed by an Arab and Islamic nation.
Its development was made possible due to a collaboration between the UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the former funded and supervised the mission while the latter focused on the development of the probe, as noted on the government agency’s webpage.
“[Hope Probe] will help to answer key questions about the global Martian atmosphere and the loss of hydrogen and oxygen gases into space [during] the span of one Martian year [687 terrestrial days],” according to the MBRSC.
The site also notes some of the objectives that the probe aims to accomplish such as, “to encourage global collaboration in Mars exploration,” and “to inspire future Arab generations to pursue space science.”
It is important to highlight that of the group of engineers that worked on the assembling of the mission, 34 per cent of them are women and the average age of the team as whole is 27 years, as reported by CNN.
The arrival of the probe was also very symbolic due to the fact that this year the country will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the union of the UAE.