Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The United Arab Emirates is celebrating the success of their first interplanetary space mission, a probe designed to monitor and test the Martian atmosphere.
Arab world basks in the glory of UAE Mars mission triumph
Updated 10 February 2021
Entry of Hope probe into Red Planet’s orbit marked success of Arab world’s first interplanetary mission
Tuesday’s feat puts UAE’s space agency in a club of just five that have pulled off a functioning Mars mission
DUBAI: For months, the Hope probe’s journey to Mars had been tracked eagerly by the Arab news media. In the UAE, hoardings depicting the unmanned spacecraft (known in Arabic as Al-Amal) have been positioned along highways as part of the country’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
On Tuesday, landmarks across the Arab world, including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower on Earth, glowed red to mark the probe’s arrival at Mars.
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 craft swung into a high Martian orbit, joining six spacecraft already operating around the planet — three US, two European and one Indian. Mission controllers had to pull off a series of delicate turns and power adjustments to maneuver the probe into position.
“Anything goes even slightly wrong and you lose the spacecraft,” said Sarah Al-Amiri, minister of state for advanced technology and the chair of the UAE’s space agency.
She described the mission’s success as “a historic development and a fulfilment for the dreams of 200 engineers and scientists” who worked behind the scenes.
The Hope’s arrival puts the UAE in a league of just five space agencies in history that have pulled off a functioning Mars mission. Two more unmanned spacecraft from the US and China are following close behind, set to arrive at the planet in the next several days.
…Read more: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1806701/middle-east
From the Australian ABC;
United Arab Emirates’ Hope Probe reaches Mars on mission to test Martian atmosphere, climate
Posted Yesterday at 11:34am, updated Yesterday at 11:37am
The UAE Space Agency, the fifth globally to reach the planet, even has a plan for a Mars settlement by 2117.
“Contact with #HopeProbe has been established again. The Mars Orbit Insertion is now complete,” said the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, where the ruler of Dubai and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi were present to receive the news.
The attempt had a 50 per cent chance of failing, Dubai’s ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had said.
To enter Mars’ orbit, the probe needed to burn around half its 800 kilograms of onboard fuel to slow down enough not to overshoot, the most dangerous part of the journey.
“Today is the start of a new chapter in Arab history … of trust in our capability to compete with other nations and people,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted after the probe entered orbit.
“The UAE will celebrate its Golden Jubilee with science, culture and inspiration because we aim to build a model of development.”
…Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-10/uae-hope-probe-enters-orbit-in-first-arab-mars-mission/13139658
The UAE Space Agency has provided a live tracker page for their mission.
I think this is a very positive development.
For over a thousand years after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Arab world was a major centre of global culture and scientific achievement. The Arabs preserved and built upon knowledge which was lost to the West, when Western Europe collapsed into barbarism and anarchy. Much of our knowledge of the first millennium comes from Arabic scholars like Ahmad ibn Fadlān ibn al-Abbās ibn Rāšid ibn Hammād, who was sent by the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir to make contact with Russia in the tenth century, whose writings are now an important source of historical knowledge of this period.
The UAE in my opinion is at the forefront of the peaceful renaissance of Arabic scholarship and culture, leaders of the Arabic effort to regain their former glory and leading position in world affairs. When I visited the UAE in my younger days, I met lots of interesting people, even an ex-Afghan Mujahideen. People who were tired of endless wars, people who just wanted to get on with life and build a better future. I take them very seriously when they express an intention to set up a colony on Mars.
In that sense this development is also a message. If the West loses interest in space exploration and colonisation, if our culture turns inward and crumbles, loses that spark which has defined our role in the modern age, there are others who are ready to step in, to pick up and continue what we started.