UAE's Hope mission on its way to Mars

A Japanese rocket launched the United Arab Emirates' first mission to Mars July 19, an orbiter that will study the planet's weather while demonstrating the country's growing space capabilities.

The Hope probe will spend the next six months traveling to our closest celestial neighbour.

The Hope probe is expected to make some significant new discoveries while at Mars.

Hope carries three instruments: a camera, infrared spectrometer and ultraviolet spectrometer.

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Omran Sharaf, the mission's project manager, has said the Hope probe will offer a special perspective on the elusive planet. - AFP In this handout photograph taken and released on July 20, Sarah al-Amiri (L), Minister of State for Advanced Sciences of United Arab Emirates and Naohiko Abe (R), Senior Vice President, Head of Integrated Defence and Space Systems of MHI celebrate the success of the H-2A rocket launch at the Tanegashima Space Centre in southwestern Japan.

For Russia Today, "the launch marks the first interplanetary exploration mission by an Arab country".

While the objective of the UAE's mission is to provide a comprehensive image of the weather dynamics, the probe is a foundation for a much bigger goal - building a human settlement on Mars within the next 100 years.

Smaller nations have been able to send their own satellites to orbit due to lowered launch and development costs. "It's a showcase for how space exploration has become an increasingly worldwide endeavor". "This is a huge leap forward for the UAE's ambitious space program".

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"This mission is an important milestone for the UAE and the region", said Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, director of the UAE's Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, at a post-launch press conference in Japan.

Al Amiri said that the mission represents a future vision for Emirates and the entire Arab world to make it a global hub for technological innovation.

This launch will be followed in the coming days by two other Mars missions by the USA and China, while Japan has planned a Martian moon mission for 2024. Shortly before 7am local time, the rocket took off from the space center on Tanegashima Island in Japan. The U.S. plans to send a rover named Perseverance to search for signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for return to Earth. It consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover and aims to study Martian topography and geology and determine the composition of the surface material, climate and environment.

The launch also received coverage in The Times of Israel, which described the mission as "a source of inspiration for Arab youth, in a region too often wracked by sectarian conflicts and economic crises".

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