Watch: UAE leaders honour Hope Probe team during ministerial retreat

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Dubai: The young Emirati engineers, who are members of the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) Hope Probe team, were honoured by the UAE leaders at a special reception during the ministerial retreat at Bab Al Shams on Tuesday.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, led the special ceremony.

The reception was held in recognition of the team’s efforts over the past six years to successfully build and launch the Hope Probe that made history with its entry to the Red Planet’s orbit on February 9. Hope Probe, which will provide the first complete picture of Martian atmosphere, has placed the UAE as the first Arab nation and the fifth in the world to reach the Red Planet.

Gift to the nation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the historic achievement marks the UAE’s 50th anniversary as a milestone and paves the way for the next 50 years. He noted: “Celebrating the Hope Probe team as part of the ministerial retreat is a message that our projects over the next 50 years will be as ambitious as the Emirates Mars Mission.” He added: “The Hope Probe is the best gift to dedicate to the people of the UAE on the 50th anniversary of our country. The journey that 200 engineers took to design, build and launch the Hope Probe to Mars is part of the UAE’s journey towards the future.”

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed tweeted on Tuesday: “Meeting the Hope Probe team today was a great honour indeed. This team of young Emiratis took the UAE to Mars with a determination and confidence that has inspired us all. Their achievement is not just a moment in history, it is a gift to the nation which will endure forever.”

Sense of belonging and pride

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid added: “Millions of Arabs felt a sense of belonging and pride as they watched an Arab spacecraft, carrying the name of Hope, reach the farthest point they have ever been in the universe.” Addressing the Hope Probe team, he underlined: “Today, our scientists and experts are the real champions who will drive the journey of our country towards further achievements, excellence and success. Our people are known for their humility and persistence. Their feet are on the ground, but their ambitions reach the sky.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid speaks during the ministerial retreat at Bab Al Shams on Tuesday.
Image Credit: WAM

Empowering our people

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed noted: “Hope Probe team is the wealth of our nation. They have worked tirelessly and our country is reaping what they sow. Our young people made us proud, raised our country’s flag in deep space and engraved the name of our nation in history. Our goal was not only to reach Mars, but to empower our people with knowledge and confidence and nurture capabilities to lead the country to the top. The success of the Hope Probe team raised the ambitions of the next generation. With the willpower and determination of our people, the UAE will continue to make bigger achievements.”

He added: “We start the journey of the next 50 years strong, with massive projects underway and a mission to prepare national expertise to lead the future. The UAE of the future will lead the region’s scientific and knowledge development. Our institutions are open for youth across the Arab world to be part of this journey.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed address the Hope Probe Team.
Image Credit: WAM

He underlined: “Our meeting today carries a special meaning as it comes after you have achieved the hope that everyone was waiting for. You have made your country, your family, your region and the entire Arab world very proud. What your children and grandchildren will learn at school today will be different than what we have learned in the past. By achieving the dream that many countries have long aspired for, you have created a new history for your country and your children and drafted beautiful stories we will narrate for the next generation.”

The special reception also saw the presence of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre; Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, along with other dignitaries and officials.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed with the Hope Probe team at Bab Al Shams on Tuesday.
Image Credit: WM

Journey of Hope

The UAE made history on February 9 with the successful arrival of the Hope Probe in Mars’ orbit, to start its scientific mission to provide the first-ever complete picture of Martian atmosphere.

Currently, Hope Probe is at its capture orbit, moving at a trajectory of 1,000km at its nearest point to Mars surface and farthest point at 49,380km. During this phase, all instruments on board the Hope Probe will be calibrated to ensure that data collected by the probe are accurate. The spacecraft will also conduct three Transition to Science Manoeuvres and the orbiter will be gradually transferred to its science orbit by April.

Hope has a planned 20,000-43,000km elliptical science orbit, with an inclination to Mars of 25 degrees. In this orbit, the probe completes one orbit of the planet every 55 hours and will capture a full planetary sample every four orbits or nine Martian days.

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The last phase of the probe’s journey is set to begin in April, when it will officially commence its Science phase to complete the first-ever planet-wide, 24×7 picture of Mars’ atmosphere for one full Martian year (687 Earth days) until April 2023.

The probe, however, can be used for another two years for additional data collection. The three science instruments installed on the probe will enable the collection of 1,000GB new Mars data, which will be shared for free with more than 200 research centres from around the world.

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