The probe called Hope will be the Arab world’s first ever mission to another planet…

The UAE is one step closer to making history as the final piece of the Mars Probe was fitted on Tuesday February 18, 2020. H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai were in attendance of the landmark moment and along with Emirati engineers placed the final piece on the Mars Probe.

A video by Emirates News Agency WAM shows Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan being shown around the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center while being briefed on the Mars mission.

The main moment can be seen the fifth minute into the video with Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan holding the final piece to the Mars Probe.

The gold plate bares the logo of the Mars Probe and the UAE emblem and a quote that reads “The power of hope shortens the distance between the Earth and sky”. The plate also contains the signatures of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Hamdan and other royals and dignitaries.

About the mission:

The Hope Probe mission, also called the Emirates Mars Mission, is the first by any Arab or Muslim-majority country. There have currently been 26 successful missions to Mars from nine countries. So this mission marks an amazing feat for a country currently only 49 years young.

The unmanned probe will launch from Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan and will join two probes already in place. The other probes come from NASA who is studying the upper atmosphere of Mars, and the other from India who is analysing the lower atmosphere.

The UAE probe will study how the upper and lower layers interact with one another to complete the study. In total, over two years of scientific data will be collected. Information which will then be used by scientists to research life for humans on Mars and other planets.

So, when is the launch date? 

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While we don’t have an exact date of launch, we know it will be sometime in July. We’re curious to know if it will coincide with the Sheikh Mohammed’s birthday on July 15.

Scientifically speaking though, the July time frame was picked as this is the time Earth and Mars will be at its closest.

However, there’s still quite a distance to cover from Earth to Mars – 60 million kilometres to be exact – so the journey will take seven to nine months. It will reach the red planet by 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the nation’s formation.

What a great way to celebrate 50 years!

This isn’t the UAE’s first venture into space. Just last year in September 2019, Major Hazza Al Mansoori became the first Emirati astronaut in space. The astronaut went to the International Space Station for eight days before returning safely back to earth.

Images: Sheikh Mohammed Twitter, and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, Dubai Media Office