The United Arab Emirate’s first ever-interplanetary mission – Hope has finally made it up to the Martian orbit on Tuesday evening, February 9.
With this historic milestone, the UAE has become the only fifth nation to reach Mars and the first-ever Arab country to achieve this revolutionary feat. And, this glorious success comes to coincide with the country’s 50th anniversary. What a wonderful way to celebrate the country’s golden jubilee!
Launched back in July 2020, nearly seven months ago, the probe had a very long journey of 493.5 million kilometers to reach its destination. The probe was scheduled to slip into the Martian orbit on July 9, which was also often discussed as a very crucial stage involving some serious maneuver. However, the probe succeeded to execute the tricky procedure – reducing its speed from 120,000kmph to 18,000kmph to enter the Martian orbit yesterday.
At approximately 7:30 pm local time, the probe fired its thrusters which consumed half of its 800kg of fuel to slow down its speed significantly. The country waited impatiently for 30 minutes, which was often described as “the thirty minutes of terror” as the mission now depended on its auto mode to conduct the Mars Orbital Insertion and the mission could fail too. The contact with the probe was lost as it was passing through the dark phase until the signal came “success”.
The whole United Arab Emirates rejoiced.
On revealing the historic achievement, Omran Sharaf, project manager of the Emirates Mars Mission, announced, “To the people of UAE and to the peoples of Islamic and Arab nations, we announce the success of the United Arab Emirates in (reaching) the orbit of the Red Planet. We thank God.”
The Hope probe – the UAE’s orbiter, finally started orbiting around the Red Planet. Before the UAE, only the US, India, the former Soviet Union and the European Space Agency had achieved this rare feat. The probe is also expected to take its first photographs of Mars in the first week of its arrival.
UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan congratulated UAE citizens and residents for the success of the UAE’s Hope Mission to Mars.
“This historic achievement would not have been possible without the persistence and determination to implement the idea that emerged at the end of 2013 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who followed it up closely until its success,” he said.
He also praised His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces for his efforts and dedication on the mission.
“Thanks to both leaders and the team of scientists and engineers behind the project for proving to the world that the UAE is capable of achieving the impossible.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, noted the success of the mission as the greatest celebration of the UAE Golden Jubilee.
“The Hope probe’s historic arrival to Mars is the greatest celebration of the 50th anniversary of our country. It sets the beginning of the next 50 years with boundless ambitions and dreams,” he said. “Our next accomplishments will be even bigger and greater.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also dedicated the achievement “to the people of the UAE and the rest of the Arab world”.
“Our success proves that Arabs are capable of reviving the region’s legacy and status in the scientific sphere. We mark our country’s 50th anniversary by our Mars stop, and invite Arab youth to join the UAE’s science movement that marched at high speed,” he added.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stated the Hope probe’s successful arrival to the Red Planet as “an Arab and Islamic achievement” made possible by “the relentless efforts” of the country’s youth.
“Emirates Mars Mission paves the way for the next 50 years of sustainable scientific development in the UAE. The human capital is the true wealth of our nation. Investing in our people forms the main pillar of all our development strategies and policies,” he said.
He also added that “the Emirati youth will be the ones leading our development for the next 50 years with their acquired knowledge and skills.”
NASA, the US space agency, also congratulated the UAE on Tuesday. Writing on Twitter, it said, “Congratulations on arriving at Mars!”
“If you ventured in pursuit of glory, don’t be satisfied with less than the stars,” NASA added.
NASA’s Perseverance, also known as “Percy”, is set to land on Mars on February 18. The Perseverance, the Hope and China’s Tianwen-1, all three missions were launched in the same month last July taking advantage of the period when Mars was nearest to the Earth. Tianwen-1 is entering the orbit of Mars today.
The Hope Probe, which will orbit Mars for 689 days, will be the first probe to provide detailed information of the Martian atmosphere and its layers. The information will be helpful to understand Martian climate dynamics and its weather map. Furthermore, the venture is expected to explain the reasons behind the loss of hydrogen and oxygen gases into space.
The UAE’s Hope mission doesn’t only hold a special place in the country’s history, but the achievement is also a very significant milestone for mankind in the history of space science. The mission promises to improve the quality of life on Earth and encourages global collaboration in Mars exploration.
As the mission’s name is “Hope”, it certainly has planted seeds of hope on acquiring significant information about Mars and inspires the world towards exploration and innovation.