UAE's historic mission to Mars under way

The UAE space agency has launched a historic mission to Mars. The Hope probe went into space from a spaceport in Japan. The probe is on a 500-million-km journey to study the climate on the Red Planet. Hope should arrive in Mars' orbit in February 2021. This coincides with the 50th anniversary of the UAE. The Emirates Mars Mission will stay in the Martian orbit for 687 days. It will collect and analyse samples of the Martian atmosphere. Scientists in Dubai hope their findings will help us understand how Mars lost a lot of its air and water. There may also be a few surprises.

The UAE has joined the ranks of pioneering space giants such as the USA, Russia and China. Entering the field of space exploration proves the ambitions of this young country. A UAE newspaper explained how momentous the Hope probe is. It wrote: "It's an understatement to say that the UAE made history last night.…The UAE has catapulted itself…into the future – a future of insight and intelligence, beyond mere imagination." It added: "For more than 400 million Arabs in the world…[the launch] was a moment that epitomised an eternity."