The United Arab Emirates launched its first-ever deep space exploration mission on July 19, 2020. The Hope Probe is going to Mars to study the atmosphere of the Red planet in greater detail. Why is the Emirates Mars mission so important science-wise and otherwise, and what far-reaching implications it has not just for the Arab world, but for the worldwide community as well?
Why Emiratis head to Mars
Some people might be skeptical about the first Arab mission, prophetically named Al Amal (‘Hope’), to Mars. The UAE used Japan’s launch services and the Emirati space professionals collaborated with hundreds of scientists from all over the world. Arab and international engineers worked back-to-back for the glory of the Emirati space program. Or maybe not just for it?
Well, the Emirates Mars mission has sparked tremendous excitement among the Emirati and Arab youth. The Hope Probe is going to be not just a standalone stunt, but it hails a whole space future for the small Gulf country. There is already plenty of young people and experienced engineers in the UAE eager to join the national space program.
Hope for the world
But is the Hope mission really that important for the world’s science? Will the Mars exploration community be lining up for the data it will collect? In short, yes and yes. As we mentioned earlier, Hope goes to Mars to study something we still know pretty little about – the Martian atmosphere.
The mission is to create a complete picture of the Red Planet’s thin gaseous veil. The project’s team proudly calls its brainchild ‘the first true weather satellite’ at Mars. What’s important, the data beamed back by Hope will help model the Earth’s own atmosphere and how it has evolved over millions of years.
Spacetimes for the Emirates
The UAE has been trying to leave its mark in space for a bit of time now. The nation has got its own space agency and a space center. Emiratis are training their own cadre of space engineers and professionals. They have had their satellites launched into the Earth orbit. They sent an astronaut to space last year.
The UAE is just like Singapore and Luxembourg. These countries are able to pull tremendously complex projects with really tiny budgets and accurate calculations. This attitude motivates aspiring space entrepreneurs to immigrate and create their own space startups, toiling both for their own fame and glory, as well as for the future of the new host nation.
High-Tech hub future
What instills hope for the future of the UAE’s innovative startups – not only space-related ones – is how the country is actually run. It is like a startup! The small nation profits from its oil riches wisely — to sponsor cutting-edge science and technology, including space exploration.
Of course, such a nation is sure to get all the respect, invitations to join different collaboration groups and global consortiums. The UAE is already a space force to be reckoned with. The country will be hosting the IAC 2021 and many other initiatives that they are doing on behalf of the UAE space agency and the other Emirates.
Summing up, the first Emirati Mars mission serves as a perfect accelerator of the entire space industry. The true impact of this project is the fact that the UAE is properly and innovatively joining the still very elite and tiny club of space-fairing nations.