Why the United Arab Emirates Focuses on Mars

Why the United Arab Emirates Focuses on Mars

Hope orbiter launch was postponed due to conditions. The goal of the project is to contribute to Mars, the red planet science. But the Emirati administration is also hoping it will encourage aspiring scientists.

Sarah al-Amiri, as a child growing up in Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates, stared at an astronomy book with a snapshot of Andromeda, the giant galaxy next to our Milky Way.

“I can’t explain it,” Ms. al-Amiri said in an interview, “but just to know that anything that was written on a screen was bigger than anything I’ve ever seen and dwarfed the world I live on.”

The Mars Mission

There were few opportunities in the Middle East while she was at college to pursue universe studies, and then, Ms. Al-Amiri majored in computer science. Yet today, the U.A.E. strives to encourage its young people to seek opportunities in science and technology, and Ms. Al-Amiri has forged a life exploring the heavens.

She is the director of research activities, just 33 years old, and the deputy project manager for a space probe the U.A.E. is about to send to Mars.

A rocket lifting a spacecraft named Hope will soon begin its journey to Mars. The expected liftoff was delayed Tuesday by poor weather at the launchpad. The U.A.E. Space Agency announced Thursday at 4:43 p.m. that it will be the next launch attempt. Time Central. (It will already be in the U.A.E. on Friday and at the Tanegashima Island launch pad in Japan.)

The project would be the boldest initiative yet for a nation that wants to create a society that will sustain its oil resources for a long time and sees a space program as one way to accomplish that goal.

For the next month, Mars will be more in the headlines. An interlude once-every-26 months when Earth and Mars line up to enable robotic spacecraft to make a fairly fast journey. After a number of delays, NASA’s next Mars rover, Perseverance, is expected to launch on July 30 with instruments to check for chemical signs of past history. China will also attempt, in about a fortnight, to launch an ambitious mission to Mars, Tianwen-1.

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