After making history as the first Arab country to be represented at the space station, the UAE looks to Mars as its next destination
26 September 2019| Last updated on 26 September 2019
Photo credit: Dubai Media Office
The UAE's "Hope" will be sent to Mars
On September 25 at 5:57 PM GST, the first Emirati astronaut Major Hazza AlMansoori journeyed to the International Space Station and introduced to the world the scientific talent and ambitions of the nation.
In 2017, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, promised that they will send four Emirati astronauts to the space station within five years. We can expect four more to follow in Major AlMansoori's footsteps.
Sheikh Mohammed took to Twitter following the launch and said: "The arrival of Hazzaa al-Mansoori to space is a message to the Arab youth... that we can progress and move forward."
"Our next stop is Mars," he added.
As part of its plans for further space exploration, the UAE has announced that it is aiming to become the first Middle Eastern country to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021, named "Hope"
Other plans include building a "Science City" that will replicate the living conditions on Mars, and in the long-term, establish the first human settlement on the red planet by the year 2117.
The planned Science City is expected to inspire future generations of UAE astronauts and scientists in being part of the human settlement ambitions. Students in the region have watched the UAE Mission 1 launch and look to AlMansoori's giant leap for the country.
Before the launch, AlMansoori shared on Twitter that he was "filled with this indescribable feeling of glory and awe".
"Today I carry the dreams and ambition of my country to a whole new dimension. May Allah grant me success in this mission."