After a six-year long project, the Emirates Mars Mission is set to take off into space on Friday
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 16 July 2020: Ahead of its live broadcast from inside the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center later this week, Europe’s number one international news channel, Euronews, spoke to Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister for Advanced Sciences in the United Arab Emirates about how the Mars Hope Mission team are feeling before the anticipated launch, how the country’s investment in scientific investigation and innovation will have an effect on the future, and how collaboration and risk taking has propelled the project forward.
Commenting on how the UAE Mars Mission team are feeling ahead of the launch which will make history for the Arab world yet again she said: “It is mixed emotions across the board. We've been planning for the last six years for arrival to Mars in February 2021 and for the last six years this has been our every waking, breathing moment. Even while sleeping, in the back of our heads we're thinking of how to proceed forward, considering the constraints that we had on this mission with both time and budget. As you get closer to it, the emotions that you're feeling - I can't describe it. I don't think I've ever personally been in the position where I've felt all these multitudes of feelings at such a high level. We're all really looking forward to getting the spacecraft in the environment.”
The Emirates Mars Mission is expected to have significant impact on the Arab world and the regional economy, as well as on research in to the fields of climate change and space science.
Commenting on the scale of the project and its impact for the UAE, Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, said: “Most space missions at the end of the day revert back to being a mission of the team and the development of the team across the years, in both the skill sets, the capabilities, and pushing the boundaries forward for the development of technologies. That is a lasting impact here on Earth, for both the space sector and eventually other sectors. The way this mission has been designed and developed, the impact is not only in the UAE, it is global.”
She added: “When we talk about the possibility that this mission has unlocked for the Nation that took on a risk, that is a pretty large risk. Half of these missions only succeed in arriving to Mars. Taking on that risk and getting the outcome that creates a large change in the realm of possibilities and allows people to further drive forward other sectors increases the risk. That is what we hope happens in the Arab world and anecdotally, that's what we see happening here in the UAE. We see our children speaking differently, talking more about Mars, talking about how we're going to get there. It is conversations that we've never had in this region of the world. We've never asked before.”
With the UAE’s Mars Mission designed and developed through a knowledge partnership between the UAE, the United States, Japan and Russia, collaboration has been a core aspect of the mission that has seen the UAE advance from being a country that designed, developed and launched space travel and operated Earth observation satellites, to one that is making history with a Mars mission.
Commenting on this collaboration, Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri said: “The spacecrafts that head to Mars and other planets are five times more complex than Earth observation satellites and the same time, they have subsystems that don't exist in Earth observation satellite. We had to take these skills and the experience that had been developed at the Russian Space Centre since 2006 and incorporate that with a team who was experienced in planetary exploration and worked on design and development of both instrumentation and also spacecrafts that have gone to other planets. The merger of that turned into a team, the Emirates Mars Mission team, that had our knowledge partners incorporation with our teams as one Emirates Mars mission team working together towards this goal.”
As the six-year long project reaches the moment of lift off later this week, it is just beginning for the team with the true tests being when the spaceship is in orbit. When asked what happens after the highly anticipated launch, Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri said: “The launch countdown is hair raising, I think slightly more because we have no control over it. It's not a launch vehicle and it's something that we place the faith completely in our launch service provider directly after launch, one hour after. That's our first test. Seven months later, we will get closer to Mars and by February 2021, we need to enter into Mars’ orbit by lowering our speeds significantly and straining our propulsion system significantly to break in to space and enter into orbit around Mars. That is a very critical maneuver that the team has simulated time and time again.”
She added: “Now the fun part starts with science for the scientists, and that's going into our science orbit, starting our science mission, starting to collect scientific data, verifying and validating the data processing that we've done on them so that we can release our data sets to the public and to scientists around the world to work on and to utilize in their research areas. This also instigates the research of the science team and we truly hope that we do find a scientific discovery by the end of 2021 with the data that's gathered in that year.”