Hope Al-Amal Space Probe. Source Arab News

UAE Space Mission Enters Mars Orbit

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.

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Alan Robertson
February 10, 2021 10:36 pm

Bravo! Here’s to learning useful things. By useful things, I don’t mean the kind of thing which will lead to expeditions to terraform Mars and the like.
Best try learning to terraform the Arabian deserts, first.

February 11, 2021 1:27 am

Now Al-Amal is in the orbit, waiting for the lander Al-George to touch down.

Last edited 1 year ago by vuk
February 11, 2021 2:28 am

Would that be the mission funded by the UAE but almost entirely operated by the European space agency?

Gregory Woods
Reply to  Quilter52
February 11, 2021 3:14 am

Inquiring minds want to know…

John Tillman
Reply to  Quilter52
February 11, 2021 5:17 am

The orbiter was assembled in Colorado, with components from California and Arizona. It was launched from Tanegashima on a Japanese rocket. Mission controllers were trained by personnel of the Indian SRO.

How many foreigners might have been employed, I don’t know, but clearly the program was international. Thank the UAE for funding it, even if as a prestige project.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Tillman
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Tillman
February 11, 2021 7:55 pm

“… even if as a prestige project.”

Yes, the atmosphere as been sampled previously, and we have made spectroscopic determinations from Earth. Inasmuch as nothing truly unique is expected to be accomplished, what is is it other than prestige signalling? If they were spending all that money, why didn’t they attempt something truly useful, like a sample-return mission?

James Walter
February 11, 2021 5:27 am

Paid for by UAE, not created, not assembled, not launched – just fake news

Max More
February 11, 2021 12:05 pm

They thanked God? Why not thank science?

H. D. Hoese
February 11, 2021 2:37 pm

Besides the long standing and still Arab interaction with US oil interests, I have always found this interesting, as the very scholarly first author went from Louisiana decades ago when Arab universities were developing. Bishop, J. M., W. Chen, A. H. Alsaffar and H. M. Al-Foudari. 2011. Indirect effects of salinity and temperature on Kuwait’s shrimp stocks. Estuaries Coasts. 34(6):1246-1254. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-011-9384-8
Aquaculture, Fisheries and Marine Environmental Department, Food Resources and Marine Sciences Division, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Salmiya, Kuwait

One does not usually associate shrimp with the Persian Gulf.

Matthew Sykes
February 12, 2021 12:22 am

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,”

This is a fallacy, the Roman Empire didnt collapse, it morphed into a religious empire, and its power structure became the Catholic church.

Steven S
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
February 12, 2021 6:54 am

Sorry, but this is just wrong on so many levels. But a fuller response would be badly off-topic.

John Tillman
Reply to  Steven S
February 12, 2021 12:02 pm

It’s wrong on some levels but right on others.

The Roman Catholic bishopric structure relied on the imperial provincial system. The state religion of latest Roman Empire was Roman Catholicism, led by the Bishop of Rome, ie Pope. However, politically, the Western Empire did break up into independent, largely Germanic barbarian kingdoms. Franks, Lombards, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, etc were largely Christian by AD 476, although mostly Arian heretics rather than Catholic.

As the Dark Ages centuries wore on, these successor kingdoms converted to Catholicism, so in this sense Western Europe did find a semblance unity harking back to the pre-Fall empire.

Charlemagne styled his domains the “Renewal of the Roman Empire”, briefly reunifying much of the former Western Empire under one crown, lacking Britain, southern Italy and mainly Islamic Iberia. OTOH, by fire and sword he extended Catholicism into pagan German lands never incorporated into the Roman Empire. His successors created the so-called Holy Roman Empire, which, as Voltaire observed, was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.

The idea of Rome persisted in the secular realm, while its organization survived in the Church, with a pope instead of an emperor. Later popes even had their own armies and lands.

John Tillman
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
February 12, 2021 11:43 am

The Western Roman Empire lasted until AD 1453, almost a millennium after the final Fall of Rome.

The Renaissance and Early Modern Scientific Revolution owed more to ancient manuscripts carried west by Greeks escaping the collapsing Byzantine Empire than the Arab transmission of European classics. Arabic preservation was more important during the Middle Ages, with documents often poorly translated from Greek or Latine into Arabic, then (back) into Medieval Latin.

Copernicus learned Greek from such a refugee, and had access to ancient Greek science through original manuscripts, not lost in translation and retranslation.

We do use many Arabic star names, however.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
February 12, 2021 3:16 pm

Sorry, meant Eastern Roman Empire.

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