It’s been just revealed that the United Arab Emirates had its eyes set on Mars the day before it launched its second satellite ever.
The resulting mission is a Mars orbiter called Hope and this has finished construction, and it’s scheduled to launch this summer.
It everything goes well, the UAE will become the fourth or fifth country to orbit Mars the next February.
Space.com revealed that the country’s newly minted scientists are dedicated to learning something new about Mars.
“Going to Mars was not the main objective,” Omran Sharaf, mission lead for the Hope spacecraft, which is also known as the Emirates Mars Mission, told Space.com.
“It’s a means for a bigger goal: to expedite the development in our educational sector, academic sector.”
It’s been also reported that Sharaf first heard about the Mars plan in November 2013 as he was preparing to see the prior project, an Earth-observing satellite called DubaiSat-2 launch.
Sending a UAE-built science probe to Mars before the country’s 50th anniversary
The hope mission began with an order from UAE Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: Send a UAE-built science probe to Mars before the country’s 50th anniversary in December 2021, within a set budget, Space.com noted.
There were other constraints as well: “The science needs to be unique. Whatever you do, it shouldn’t be something that’s been done before,” Sharaf said the prime minister directed.
“We should build it and not buy it, and work with others, don’t start from scratch.”
It’s also worth noting that jumping from Earth orbit to the Red Planet in less than 10 years is a massive leap but it’s still a purposeful one for the UAE.
In other Mars-related news, the Red Planet used to have a global magnetic field earlier in the planet’s history – but this was much earlier and then much later than experts previously knew. Not too long ago, it’s been revealed a new timeline for the magnetic field on Mars.