Dhe space probe of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) entered the orbit of Mars without any major incident. “Mission accomplished,” wrote Prime Minister Mohammed bin Raschid al-Maktum on Twitter. The first space probe in an Arab country to collect climate data on the Red Planet was launched from Japan in July. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and thus the de facto ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Sajid al-Nahjan, recently wrote in a tweet of a “historic Emirati mission”.
The “Al-Amal” (Hope) mission is intended to help capture the first complete picture of Mars’ climate over a full year on the planet. The space probe, which weighs 1,350 kilograms, will, among other things, observe the atmosphere as well as weather changes and the change of seasons. On her seven-month journey she covered 450 million kilometers and flew through space at around 121,000 kilometers per hour.
“Al-Amal” is the first of three space missions scheduled to reach Mars this month. China and the US space agency Nasa have also launched probes.
The Emirates are pressing ahead with their space program. A lunar mission is also planned for the year 2024, during which an unmanned spacecraft will take off to the earth’s satellite and land there in a previously unexplored area. In addition to scientific knowledge and positive effects for the economy, the extremely wealthy Gulf state also hopes to cultivate its image. The disastrous human rights situation in the country is repeatedly the focus of international criticism. The neighbor Saudi Arabia is pursuing a similar strategy. A space agency was created there by royal decree in December 2018.