What’s On has details of the creation of the UAE Space Agency and Sheikh Mohammed twitter announcement that the UAE will send an unmanned probe to Mars in 2021.

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The UAE is going to Mars.

It’s going to take a while, but the first steps have been made to make the country ready for space exploration after Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the creation of the UAE Space Agency.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the nation’s formation, the primary target of the agency will be to send an unmanned probe to the Red Planet by 2021.

Becoming one of only nine countries to create a programme to explore Mars, the 60 million kilometre journey will take nine months.

Announcing the moves on Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed, who celebrated his birthday on Monday July 14, said: “Today, we declare our new project to send the first Arabian and Islamic Probe to Mars. The Probe will reach there in 2021 with our aims to contribute in benefiting the humankind. The Probe will cross more than 60 million kilometres, driving us to the developed countries level and provide new civilized contributions to the world.

“We want to promote our knowledge capabilities, enter the global race in discovering Space and create Emirati nationals capable of achieving our great ambitions. When the right circumstances are available for the Arabian people, they can achieve some significant accomplishments.”

In a statement, UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan added: “The UAE Mars probe represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration. We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity.”

According to 7Days, around Dhs 2obillion is already invested in space-technologies, including satellite data, TV broadcast and mobile companies, as well as Earth mapping and observation systems.