Once it enters orbit around Mars, the Hope Probe will study the planet’s daily and seasonal cycles, along with the erosion of the Martian atmosphere, a process that leaves the planet waterless and ill-suited to life. The UAE will share the data it collects with more than 200 academic and scientific institutions around the world free of charge.
This historic moment for the region follows decades of preparations and work to achieve a grand vision set out in the 1970s by the UAE’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. His interest in space was triggered by a meeting in 1976 with NASA astronauts who had flown in a number of Apollo missions to the moon.
US President Richard Nixon also presented Sheikh Zayed with a gift of a moon rock collected from the Taurus-Littrow Valley during the 1972 Apollo 17 mission. That relic, from what remains the last moon landing to date, is on display in Al-Ain Museum.