By Dana Moukhallati,
Published in Mars Daily, 9 February, 2021
The United Arab Emirates’ “Hope” probe on Monday successfully entered Mars’ orbit, making history as the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
The probe is designed to reveal the secrets of Martian weather, but the UAE also wants it to serve as an inspiration for the region’s youth.
“To the people of the UAE, to the Arab and Muslim nations, we announce the succesful arrival to Mars’ orbit. Praise be to God,” said Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager.
Officials at mission control broke into applause, visibly relieved after a tense half-hour as the probe carried out a “burn” to slow itself enough to be pulled in by Martian gravity, in what was the most perilous stage of the journey.
Hope is the first of three spacecraft to arrive at the Red Planet this month after China and the US also launched missions in July, taking advantage of a period when the Earth and Mars are nearest.
The UAE’s venture is also timed to mark the 50th anniversary of the unification of the nation’s seven emirates.