Daily US Times: After a successful lift-off in Japan, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) historic first mission to Mars is underway.
The Hope probe launched on an H2-A rocket from Tanegashima spaceport and is now on a 500-million-km journey to study the planet’s climate and weather.
In the past week, two previous attempts to launch the probe had to be called off because of adverse weather.
The mission is set to arrive in February 2021, which is set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the formation of UAE.
Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, the science lead on Hope mission to Mars, spoke of her excitement and relief in seeing the rocket climb successfully into the sky.
And she stated the impact on her country would be the same as that on the US when the American people first watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing 51 years ago, also on 20 July.
She told BBC News that 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 UAE’s Hope is one of three missions heading to Mars this month.
China and the US both have surface rovers in the late stages of preparation. The American mission, Perseverance, sent its congratulations to UAE’s craft. The mission’s Twitter account said: “I cannot wait to join you on the journey!”
Why is the UAE going to Mars?
The UAE has limited experience of designing and manufacturing spacecraft – and yet here it is attempting something only the US, Europe, India and Europe have succeeded in doing. But it speaks to the Emiratis’ ambition that they should dare to take on this challenge.
In just six years, their engineers, mentored by American experts, have produced a sophisticated probe – and when this satellite gets to Mars, it’s expected to deliver novel science, revealing fresh insights on the workings of the planet’s atmosphere.
In particular, scientists think the Hope probe can add to our understanding of how Mars lost much of its air and with it a great deal of its water.