By Staff writer
Project aims to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2012
UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Saturday chaired the inaugural meeting of the UAE Space Agency team, which last week announced plans to send the region’s first probe to Mars by 2021.
Last week, it was announced a new UAE Space Agency will be created to coordinate the country’s growing space technology sector and to supervise the mission.
The probe will take nine months to make the more than 60 million kilometre journey to Mars and will mark the UAE out as one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore the Red Planet.
The project aims to develop Emirati human capital and boost the space technology industry as a sustainable driver of the UAE's increasingly diversified economy, a statement said.
At the new agency’s first meeting on Saturday, Sheikh Mohammed reviewed plans for this ambitious project in terms of organisational, legislative and administrative aspects, the state news agency WAM reported. The meeting also established certain milestones to be achieved in the coming years for sending an unmanned probe to Mars by the year 2021.
During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammed directed all government institutions to provide maximum support to the mission’s team.
"This is a historic mission and an epic challenge for the Arab and Islamic world led by a team of fine and dedicated Emirati talent. Our success will reflect positively on the trustworthy reputation we have established. This is a message for the new Arab generation to trust in their capabilities and what they can achieve," Sheikh Mohammed said.
The establishment of the UAE Space Agency and the landing of the probe on Mars is designed to mark the country’s 50th anniversary in 2021.