UAE Launches Mars Probe Ahead of Planned Red Planet Settlement
The Arab world joined the family of space-faring nations late Sunday night when the United Arab Emirates launched its Hope Probe mission to Mars. The satellite took off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center amid great fanfare and excitement in the UAE following a week’s delay due to bad weather. The space vehicle is expected to reach the red planet in February 2021 and begin its mission of collecting atmospheric and climatic data. The new enterprise will join eight other probes and satellites currently employed on and around Mars. The United States and China are also expected to launch missions to Mars this year. The UAE’s ambitious space program has progressed at breakneck speed. After announcing plans for the latest mission just six years ago, it launched its National Space Program in 2017 and placed the first Emirati in space only two years later. It intends to place a settlement on Mars in just 96 years. Mars is considered the most – if not only – viable option for human expansion in space. Located just inside the solar system’s habitable zone, it has nearly all of the climatic, chemical and physical elements needed to sustain life.