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The UAE’s Next Stop for Climate Change Answers? Mars

sheikh mohammed, mars, hope mission, UAE space agency

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, visits the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre as the last external part of the Hope Probe is installed. Photo: Instagram/@dubaimediaoffice

As one of the most important environmental issues of the world today, climate change is at the forefront of many initiatives within the UAE to address and mitigate the long-term effects of this global crisis. As rising temperatures continue to draw attention to an increasing need to discover sustainable solutions, the UAE is setting its sights on space exploration for out-of-this-world answers. The first stop? Mars.

The UAE quickly became renowned as a leader for space development in the region after the first Emirati astronaut, Hazza AlMansoori, touched down at the International Space Station last year.  Now, the UAE Space Program plans to make history once again with the Emirates Mars Mission this July. Emirati engineers will send the first Arab probe to the mysterious red planet this summer in an effort to gain further understanding of the Martian atmosphere and how it relates to climate change.

“What the Emirates Mars Mission will provide is actual data throughout an entire year, everywhere in Mars,” explained the UAE Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sarah Al Amiri in an interview with Euronews.  “Climate change is one of the reasons that Mars has transformed and understanding better the weather dynamics and the atmospheric changes on Mars give us one piece of the puzzle on what happened to Mars—why has it got into the state that it’s at today.”

The unmanned Hope probe will be launched into Mars’ orbit to study its daily climate and various weather patterns across different areas, atmospheres, and seasons of the planet in order to correlate it to our own environmental concerns. “That will even allow us to better understand climate change on Earth, and what usually naturally happens when it comes to climate change,” added Al Amiri. “So eventually, when we send humans to Mars, this will provide us with a better understanding on what will be faced.”

sheikh mohammed, mars, hope mission, UAE space agency

Shiekh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. Photo: Instagram/@dubaimediaoffice

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Scheduled to reach Mars in July 2021, the same years as the UAE’s milestone 50th anniversary, the Emirates Mars mission is yet another step in helping the fledging Arab nation make its mark on large-scale societal change. “The UAE government wanted to see a big shift in the ecosystem that we have when it comes to building a creative, competitive, and innovative knowledge-based economy,” shared Emirates Mars Mission project manager Omran Sharaf. “It looked at space as a means to do that and Emirates Mars mission is the catalyst for that big shift and change.”

However, the information gathered on this unprecedented exploration will not only advance the UAE but also the world. “It’s about addressing our national challenges when it comes to water, food and energy resources,” continued Sharaf, “and it’s about generating knowledge that will serve humanity.”

sheikh mohammed, mars, hope mission, UAE space agency

Shiekh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. Photo: Instagram/@hhshkmohd

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