‘We’re going to Mars to start a new journey for our country:’ UAE’s Sheikh Hamdan

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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum outlined why the United Arab Emirates is intent on going to Mars in a recent video.

The launch of the UAE’s Hope Probe that was set to take off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center was delayed twice due to weather conditions earlier this week, with the new launch date planned for August 3.

“When we are determined, we execute. When we dream, we make our dreams come true our journey to Mars is a message of hope to all Arabs that we can compete with the world in science and technology. The UAE today leads the Arab knowledge transformation,” he said in the video published Wednesday on Twitter.

The UAE, an oil-exporting nation, first announced plans for the mission in 2014 as part of efforts to diversify away from hydrocarbons and develop a knowledge economy, aiming to reach the planet by 2021.

Sheikh Hamdan, the Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the General Supervisor of the Hope Probe, said in the video that space programs are the gateway to science and talent development, adding that the Emirate Mars Mission Hope Probe will position the UAE at the forefront of Arab scientific development.

To develop and build the Hope Probe, Emiratis and Dubai's Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) worked with US educational institutions with space science expertise.

“We are going to Mars because we want to start a new journey for our country. The journey of the next 50 years and the last 50 years that passed in the history of our nation,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

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The timing of the original launch was to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the formation of the UAE.

“We started from the desert of our country, and we want the next 50 years to start from the desert of Mars, because we are people who don’t know the impossible, and nothing can stand ahead of our rising ambitions,” he added.

The probe will be mounted onboard a H-IIA rocket that is set to launch at a speed of 34,082 kilometers per hour.

According to MBRSC, the trip will take around six months for the 493,500,000 kilometer trip to Mars, where it aims to study the climate and atmosphere of the so-called Red Planet.

-With Reuters. Al Arabiya English’s Tommy Hilton contributed to this report.

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