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In pictures: Passengers arriving to the UAE receive ‘Martian ink’ passport stamp

In pictures: Passengers arriving to the UAE receive ‘Martian ink’ passport stamp

The ink is created from same rocks found on the red planet

Visitors arriving at UAE airports receive a Martian Ink stamp on their passports, ahead of the Hope Probe’s arrival to Mars later today.

Produced by the UAE Government Media Office in collaboration with Dubai Airports, the stamp reads: “You’ve arrived in the Emirates. The Emirates is arriving at Mars on 09.02.2021.”

The special passport stamp marks the spacecraft’s upcoming arrival to Mars on February 9, after it will overcome the most critical phase of its mission to enter the Red Planet’s orbit.

The probe will provide the first complete picture of the Martian atmosphere.

The basalt rocks date back tens of millions of years

The design is made from the world’s first ‘Martian Ink,’ extracted from volcanic basalt rocks that give Mars its rusty colour. The rocks were collected during a mission to the UAE’s eastern Al Hajar Mountains and Sharjah’s Mleiha Desert by experts and gemologists. They were then crushed into a fine paste, dried in the sun, and mixed with adhesives to create three separate colors that represent the red planet.

The basalt rocks date back tens of millions of years and give the UAE’s mountain ranges their distinct rugged look.

The probe will provide the first complete picture of the Martian atmosphere

Khaled Al Shehhi, executive director of production and digital communication sector, UAE Government Media Office, said: “On July 20, 2020, the world watched in excitement as Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe blasted off towards Mars. Now, seven months later on February 9, 2021, the Hope Probe is set to arrive to the Red Planet’s orbit – a major milestone for the UAE and for the Arab world that embodies hope, and conveys the ambition and motivation of the region’s people in overcoming the most pressing challenges to realize their dreams.”

“To commemorate this historic occasion and celebrate the mission’s incredible victory with the rest of the world, we have created a special stamp printed with ‘Martian Ink’ – made of basalt rocks found in the deserts of the UAE. This will be embossed on the passports of all the visitors to the UAE arriving at this time for a limited period.”

The mission is expected to collect more than 1,000 GB of new data

In anticipation of the probe reaching its final stage, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, sent out a message saying the region had already “made history”.

Read: Sheikh Mohammed on Mars mission: ‘We’ve already made history’

The Hope Probe has so far travelled 493 million kilometres in space since its launch. Once it gets close to Mars, the spacecraft must slow down significantly to be captured by Martian gravity, reducing its cruising speed from 121,000 kph to about 18,000 kph. The Hope Probe will do an autonomous orbit insertion, using star trackers to determine its position in space.

Once the Hope Probe enters the Mars orbit, it will start gathering up to 1,000 GB of data about the Martian atmosphere. The data will be shared for free with 200 scientific and academic institutions around the world.

Also read: Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe: All you need to know

The Hope Probe’s journey to Mars coincides with a year of celebrations to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.

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