The UAE has taken the “first practical steps” towards its mission of sending the Arab world’s first unmanned probe to Mars, the UAE’s VP and PM and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, revealed on Monday.
The recently created UAE Space Agency has signed an agreement with the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology, EIAST, to build the probe to Mars, official news agency WAM reported.
According to the agreement, EIAST will implement all stages of the project under the supervision and direct funding from the agency for a period of seven years.
Sheikh Mohammed said that the project would be implemented under the supervision of the Emirati working group in the Emirates Space Agency along with international partner specialists.
In a message on Twitter, he said: “With pride, we took practical steps towards launching the first Arab mission to Mars. The UAE Space Agency and the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology will collaborate to build the Mars probe.
“The UAE Mars probe is mission of national pride, a great Arab achievement, and a valuable contribution to human knowledge.”
He added: “I call on all young people across the Middle East: join us in writing a new chapter in the history of the Arab nation.”
In July, the UAE announced that it plans to send a probe to Mars by 2021, in a bid to send the Arab world’s first mission to another planet. The probe’s journey will take nine-months and span more than 60 million kilometres.
The mission, to be led by emiratis, will make the UAE one of nine countries with space programmes to explore Mars, and will also coincide with the 50th anniversary of the country’s formation.