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UAE's Mars-bound probe to reach destination on Tuesday

i24NEWS - AFP

clock 2 min read

An H-2A rocket carrying the Hope Probe, known as "Al-Amal" in Arabic, blasts off from Tanegashima Space Centre in southwestern Japan on July 20, 2020.
AFP PHOTO / MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIESAn H-2A rocket carrying the Hope Probe, known as "Al-Amal" in Arabic, blasts off from Tanegashima Space Centre in southwestern Japan on July 20, 2020.

UAE looking to make history by becoming the first Arab nation to reach the Red Planet

The al-Amal probe -- Arabic for "Hope" -- launched by the United Arab Emirates to Mars is to reach its destination on Tuesday.

Should the probe successfully secure itself on a steady orbit around the Red Planet, the UAE will become the first Arab nation to have mounted a successful unmanned Mars mission.

Furthermore, it would be the world's 5th nation to reach Mars once the probe completes its voyage.

In a late January tweet, UAE Prime Minister and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that while the probe's odds of entering the orbit stood at 50 percent, the expertise achieved in its development was already "90% of our goals."

The Emirati probe is just one of the three Mars missions nearing the Red Planet this month as the US and China launched their respective projects last July, making use of a window of opportunity opened by the relative positions of the Earth and Mars. 

The probe will orbit the planet for at least one Martian year, or 687 days, while the Tianwen-1 from China and the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover from the US will both land on Mars' surface.

The UAE mission had been timed to mark the 50th anniversary of the unification of the UAE, with landmarks across the nation lit up in red at night.

The UAE government accounts on social media are promoting the #ArabstoMars hashtag, and on the big day Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, will be at the centre of a celebratory show.