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UAE Mars mission: Craft manufacturing to begin this year

UAE Mars mission: Craft manufacturing to begin this year

The probe is expected to launch from earth in mid-2020

The United Arab Emirates’ mission to Mars is progressing on schedule and within budget, head of mission Omran Sharaf confirmed on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the World Government Summit, he confirmed that the mission was on track to launch in the next four years.

The UAE aims to become the first Arab country to send an unmanned probe to Mars – named Hope – by 2021.

The mission will mainly study the red planet’s atmosphere and help the scientific community learn more about Mars, especially about its weather and atmosphere patterns.

Speaking at the event, head of space segment Ibrahim Hamza said that manufacturing of parts for the flight model was expected to begin this year.

The probe will be a compact spacecraft, similar to the size and weight of a small car. It will blast off in a launcher rocket, then detach and accelerate into deep space.

The subsystems have been designed and have been sent for peer reviews.

While parts may be sourced from international vendors, the assembling of the units will take place in the UAE.

“We must have everything ready by end-2019 so that we can launch by mid-2020,” said Hamza.

After leaving earth, the probe will cruise for seven months before it reaches Mars’ orbit.

Once it reaches its destination, the probe will orbit the Mars until at least 2023, with an option to extend the mission until 2025.

It will send back more than 1000GB of data to be analysed by teams of researchers in the UAE and shared freely with more than 200 institutions worldwide for the benefit of space scientists.

Sharaf refused to disclose exact investment figures but confirmed that the amount will revealed in the future.

“Going to Mars is not the main goal – it is the means for a bigger aim which is to motivate the Arab youth to achieve what they deem as impossible,” he said.

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