Zee Media Bureau
Abu Dhabi: At a time when space exploration has become a competition between world powers, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021, which will be the Arab world’s first mission to another planet.
A new UAE Space Agency will be created to coordinate the UAE’s growing space technology sector and to supervise the mission.
The mission will be led by Emiratis and will expand the nation’s human capital through knowledge transfer from international partners, as well as increasing human knowledge about space exploration and distant planets.
“The UAE Mars probe represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration. We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity,” UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in a statement Wednesday.
“The UAE’s purpose is to build Emirati technical and intellectual capabilities in the fields of aerospace and space exploration and to enter the space industry and to make use of space technology in a way that enhances the country’s development plans, he added.”
With this, the Gulf nation becomes one of the only nine countries with space programmes to explore the Red Planet. The Mars probe’s nine-month and more than 60 million-kilometre journey will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s formation.
“Despite all the tensions and the conflicts across the Middle East, we have proved today how positive a contribution the Arab people can make to humanity through great achievements, given the right circumstances and ingredients,” Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said.
The industry is estimated to be worth around $300 globally and growing by around 8 percent annually.
The UAE Space Agency would be responsible for supervising and organising all such activities, developing the sector, ensuring knowledge transfer, enhancing the UAE’s position as a global player in aerospace, and maximising the contribution of space industries to the national economy, added Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
The Red Planet project would be a turning point in the UAE’s development, establishing the space technology sector as a key component of the national economy for years to come.
(With Agency Inputs)