UAE's historic mission to Mars under way

The space agency of the United Arab Emirates has launched its historic first mission to Mars. The UAE launched its Hope probe on an H2-A rocket from a spaceport in Japan on Monday. The probe is on an incredible 500-million-km journey to study the weather and climate on the Red Planet. Hope is scheduled to arrive in Mars' orbit in February 2021, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the formation of the UAE. The Emirates Mars Mission will stay in the Martian orbit for 687 days. It will collect data samples of the Martian atmosphere to analyse. Scientists in Dubai hope their findings will add to our understanding of how Mars lost a lot of its air and water, as well as springing up a few surprises.

The UAE has joined the ranks of long-established pioneering space giants such as the USA, Russia, China, India and Japan. Entering the field of space exploration is a testament to the ambitions of this young country. The Khaleej Times newspaper explained how momentous the Hope probe is for the UAE. It wrote: "It's an understatement to say that the UAE made history last night. By using history as a springboard, the UAE has catapulted itself and along with it the world into the future – a future of insight and intelligence, beyond mere imagination. For more than 400 million Arabs in the world, one hour, 58 minutes and 14 seconds past midnight last night was a moment that epitomised an eternity."