The Hope project by the Emirates is the third one headed to the red planet Mars. The other two are the Chinese Tianwen-1 and American Mars 2020. These want to take advantage of the situation when the Earth is nearest to Mars. NASA says October is the month when Mars will be 38.6 million miles from planet Earth and all three agencies want to use that opportunity. The Hope could be in orbit around Mars by February 2021. It will be a special moment for the UAE, being the 50th anniversary of the alliance of seven emirates. The probe will not land on Mars but will be in orbit around the planet for a complete Martian year, or 687 Earth days.

The objective is to map the atmosphere and chart the weather dynamics of the red planet on a continuous basis. An exercise of this nature would be a prelude to the subsequent colonization of Mars.

The Guardian provides some information about the launch. It is the first Arab space mission to Mars and it took off from Japan. The launch site was the Tanegashima Space Center. The unmanned probe Al-Amal, or Hope, separated as per plans about an hour after liftoff and those present in the control room applauded the event. “This is the future of the UAE,” said Sarah Amiri from the site. She is a senior official of the UAE Mars mission and she described it as “an indescribable feeling.”

UAE’s Hope gives an impetus to Mars mission

The UAE is keen to change the perception of the world.

This unique project would act as an inspiration for the young generation. By virtue of launching Hope, the UAE added its name to countries like the United States and China who already have Mars in their sights. So far, there have been many probes since the 1960s. Once news of water on the red planet surfaced, the interest in sending people to the alien planet grew.

The American Space Agency, NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars by 2033. The Guardian quotes Omran Sharaf, the UAE mission’s project manager, saying the Hope probe will offer a special perspective on the elusive planet. It will keep the scientific community around the world updated on the state of the Martian atmosphere on a 24X7 basis.

Such information will be useful when making a decision on colonization. Notably, Elon Musk is also upbeat about manned missions to the Moon and Mars.

Mission to Mars is a first for the Arab world

According to CNN, the Hope Probe which was launched from a base in Japan has established two-way communication with the ground segment in Dubai. America and China also have plans to embark on missions to the red planet this summer. NASA has its Perseverance Rover lined up and China has its Tianwen 1. These could launch tentatively between late July and early August. The Hope Probe is the latest and most ambitious step in the space sector of the UAE. It already has experience with space-related activities.

It launched satellites in 2009 and 2013 developed with the help of South Korea. Later, it set up its own space agency in 2014. Its ambitious targets include a colony on Mars by 2117. These activities would make extensive use of Renewable Energy and artificial intelligence. Incidentally, most Mars missions are time-consuming projects and full credit goes to UAE scientists who took just six years to launch its Hope Probe.

Involvement of the US in UAE’s Mars program

The University of Colorado and NASA were involved in the success of the UAE’s Mars program. Sarah Al Amiri, the mission's science lead, talks about mapping the full picture of the climate of Mars. This could throw light on how the planet, once thought to have an abundant supply of water, became barren.

CNN quotes Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, using Twitter to say, "The data gathered by the probe will add a new dimension to the human knowledge. This is our latest contribution to the world."