'Zayed' touted as name of UAE Mars probe

Sheikh Mohammad calls on public to propose names for UAE’s unmanned mission to Mars in 2021
'Zayed' touted as name of UAE Mars probe
By Sarah Townsend
Thu 16 Apr 2015 02:17 PM

The name ‘Zayed Probe’ is the most popular suggestion for the name of the UAE’s Mars probe planned for 2021, it was reported on Thursday.

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, sent a tweet on Wednesday calling on the public to propose names for the UAE’s unmanned mission to Mars planned to coincide with the country’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

Sheikh Mohammed tweeted: “Brothers and sisters, we have started preparing for the launch of the first Arab and Islamic probe to explore planet Mars. The #mars_probe will mark the entry of the Arabs into [the] Space Age.

“This mission to Mars is a great challenge and source of inspiration for us all in the Arab nation as we now compete in the race of civilisation and global knowledge #mars_probe.

“I ask of all who will receive my Tweet today to participate in choosing a distinctive Arabic name for the #mars_probe using the mentioned hashtag.

“The #mars_probe is an Arab Islamic project and we want the Arab youth to be part of it. We want to open the doors to hope and optimism and wish for their aspirations to reach constellations.”

Thousands of tweets have been flooding Twitter since with the hashtag #Mars_Probe (in Arabic). Suggestions have included ‘Almisbar’ — which means ‘probe’ in Arabic — ‘Peace Probe’ and ‘Union’, according to a report in Gulf News.

Many tweeters suggested naming the probe ‘Zayed’ or ‘Zayed UAE 1971’ in memory of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

“I think it should be named ‘Zayed’ or ‘Zayed UAE 1971’ because it shows the progress this country has made over the years, guided by the vision of Shaikh Zayed, the founding father of the country,” Laila Ali, a resident of Dubai from Palestine, was quoted as saying.

And Egyptian resident Farah Gareeb said: “Shaikh Zayed had a vision [for the UAE] and the country has grown in phenomenal ways. He planted the seeds and they grew into what we see as the UAE today, so I think that naming the Mars probe ‘Zayed’ is ideal.”

Sheikh Mohammed announced plans last October for a seven-year journey to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars. The mission is intended to explore the planet and increase the UAE’s knowledge of space exploration.

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