Inside the Global Journey of the UAE’s Mars Mission

The Hope Mars Mission is set to launch this summer

Building a Mars probe
Scientists working on building the Hope Mars probe.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre

The 21st century is increasingly one in which numerous nations are making high-profile forays into the world of space exploration. Last year, India’s ambitious plan for a lunar lander was among the projects in the spotlight. This year, the United Arab Emirates has a bold project in the works: a mission to Mars. But while the UAE is the country behind it, the effort could also be said to be a global one, involving expertise and technology from around the world.

At The New York Times, Kenneth Chang explored the way the probe — named Hope — was brought to fruition. When it launches, the process will have included testing in the United States, a manufacturer in South Korea and a launch facility in Japan.

It’s part of an ambitious plan to send a mission to Mars that would arrive before the 50th anniversary of the UAE. This has led to some unique dimensions to the project, as Chang explains:

The federal U.A.E. space agency, which is financing the mission, was created in 2014. The space center in Dubai is in charge of its construction and operation of the spacecraft. (It is as if California established a space program first and the United States set up NASA later.)

Hope is set to launch this summer, during a time when Earth and Mars will be in relatively close proximity. If all goes according to plan, the success of the mission will usher another nation into the spacefaring world — and add another dimension to humanity’s forays to the stars.

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